I picked up my son from the eighth grade class trip (very) late on Friday night (technically, the wee hours of Saturday morning). On the drive home, there was a tired, train-of-thought conversation that involved discussion of the things my deep thinker had been churning in his mind on the 12-hour bus ride home.

“You know, the Capitol dome was constructed of cast iron,” he told me. “In the 1850s and 60s,” he added. “That must have been quite a feat of engineering.” He stared out the window as the darkness passed by while he thought. “I wonder how they had the technology to get that up there back then.”

Nearly nine million pounds of ironwork, I have learned. My son thinks about the process of construction: how they created this immense structure. How they managed to move it to the top of the Capitol building. Meanwhile, my mother-mind wonders about the safety of the building on which that weight is resting and the lives of the people within that building. That’s a lot of weight for the walls and foundation to hold.

“And you know,” he continued, breaking me our of my reverie and revealing the randomness of his reflection. “The National Archives are much harder to get into than Nicolas Cage makes it seem.” I chuckled as my mind drifted to thoughts of the movie, National Treasure.

“Of course,” I told him. “That’s Hollywood. They had to make it possible, or the story line wouldn’t have worked.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “I just wanted to point that out. It’s really hard to get in there.”

“I’m sure it is. Think about what’s in there.” I paused to see if he had anything else to add. The silence stretched until I asked, ”Did you finish all the cookies I sent?”

“Oh, I finished those a long time ago… on the bus ride down on Tuesday.”

“Did you share them?”

“I tried.”

“What do you mean, ‘you tried’?” I asked.

“Nobody wanted any,” he stated, as if teenagers don’t get hungry.

I puzzled over this one for a minute. Eighth grade boys and homemade cookies. This didn’t seem right to me. “No one wanted any? Did you offer them one?”

“Well,” he hedged. “I probably could have done better with that.”

“You didn’t offer one to anyone, did you?”

“Yes, I did.” he said.


“Well, when I offered one to Jon, he was wearing ear buds.” He paused here before he said, “He didn’t answer.”

“So you ate them all?”

Even in the darkness of the car, I could see the smirk on his face.


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