Her son glowered at the truck’s dashboard, fingers curled into fists. The seven year old had won his football scrimmage, and been in good spirits when they’d left the field. But now, as they cruised down pitted highway towards a celebratory BBQ dinner, something had gone wrong. She knew her son. This anger had a righteous bent.
Danielle turned the dusty volume knob, muffling the patriotic bluegrass playing over the radio. “Everything okay?”
“No.” He said, his gaze locked on the windshield.
Without the radio the old truck’s clatter overtook the cabin. She nodded and watched the ever-oncoming horizon. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He leaned forward and turned the volume knob. The song was ending, just guitar melody without the rusted voices of old folk singers. “They’re lying. It’s just a lie.”
The music ended and a commercial for weekend sales overtook the airwaves. He was a bit young for cynicism, Danielle thought, disillusionment was for the teenage years. “Interesting opinion.”
He finally looked at her, frowning. “Mr. Parker told us the actual story, the truth. There’s no pilgrim’s pride, they killed the Native Americans. That song is just lying.” He sputtered with pent up indignation. “Its wrong.”
A month ago the word he would have used was Indian. Danielle suppressed a smile for the sake of her seven year old’s own pride. Mr.Parker was the new second grade teacher. The students loved him, the town’s entrenched parents less so. While Mr. Parker was ignoring the Texas mandated textbooks, warnings of a dreaded political correctness hovered like a miasma over the pop warner bleachers and PTA meetings.
Personally Danielle was going to enjoy the small army of enlightened little leaguers schooling their families on every thanksgiving and fourth of July. “Mr Parker is a good teacher. But calling it a lie is a little harsh, don’t you think?” Danielle said conversationally, watching him from the corner of her eye as she drove.
He didn’t answer. Children are used to being told they are wrong, and he waited with a stubborn set of his chin for the correction.
“People want to believe it, even if they know it’s not exactly right. Some are just hopeful, they want it to be true. There isn’t anything wrong with that.” Danielle said. Her son settled back into the front seat, still wearing his frown.
She waited for him to deliberate. It’d taken him a month to forgive Danielle and her husband for their part in the Easter Bunny hoax, longer still for Santa Claus. Occasionally Danielle wished her son paid less attention in Sunday school.
“It doesn’t make them right.” He said stubbornly.
“No it doesn’t.” Danielle sighed.
This odd, and particularly difficult, music challenge was posed to me by Raw Rambles who wrote her own piece. Per the rules, I had to write something to, or inspired by Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s rendition of “My Country Tis’ Of Thee”.