I drove back to Evanston from South Bend on this eerily warm late winter evening. The bright orange sun was beginning to drop below the horizon as I was leaving South Bend. Around LaPorte, the playlist on my iPod reached Betty Buckley's "Memory," the iconic song from the musical "Cats." The song put me in mind of my trip with my son Grant to New York for what must have been his tenth birthday. Thanks to my friend Buzz Palmer, we got a tour of the United Nations and had lunch in the delegates' dining room. We went to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. And on a Saturday night we went to the Winter Garden Theatre and saw "Cats."
I had ordered tickets far in advance and Grant was eager to see the show. I played a little joke on him by suggesting a couple of hours before the show that we sell our tickets on the street and just spend the evening seeing the bright lights of New York City. Grant thought about it for a few seconds and then replied almost sheepishly, "No. Let's not."
So we went to the show. We arrived about half an hour early, found our seats and waited for the show to begin. At 8 p.m. the house lights went down and the theatre was totally dark. Then, gradually, lights began to twinkle above us, creating the effect of stars in the night sky. It was a magical moment. Grant leaned over to me and whispered, "Aren't you glad we didn't sell the tickets?"
Every time I think of that, tears well in my eyes. Tears of joy, of course, that I was able to experience such a special moment with my child. God has been good to me.
It's hard for me to believe that Grant is now almost 24 and is about to take off on a trip of his own to Turkey. And a few weeks after that, he'll head to Mississippi for his first teaching job.