Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein.
I hope you're right Mr. Einstein.
On our way to daycare one morning this week, Elliott asked me, "What kind of animal do you want daddy, a bird or a fish."
Not the greatest set of choices, really, as far as animals go. But, I answered, "A fish."
"Well," said Elliott, "I have a fish at my farm. And if you want to go to my farm we can ride my delivery horse. But we'll have to watch out for the mean witch. Because if we see the mean witch, we'll have to make the delivery horse go faster."
A lot of questions were running through my mind at this point. Like, who paid for the farm? Does the delivery horse have UPS branded on its hide? Are you sure the mean witch is in the right story? And, if by chance we do see the mean witch, just how fast is this delivery horse?
Before my questions could stir me into a deep panic, Elliott took a pre-emptive shot at calming my fears.
'Don't worry daddy, if she catches us we'll blow her away."
We'll blow her away, I wondered. Where had he picked up such a violent imagination. I have this image of Elliott and I bouncing along on the speedy delivery horse, one hand on the horse, the other wildly unloading assault rifles at the pursuing witch.
"What do you mean blow her away, Elliott?"
"Like an alligator," he said
"How does an alligator blow someone away?"
"Like this." He hooked his elbows together and began to slap his little arms against each other like the long jaws of an alligator repeatedly opening and clamping shut. He looked like the out of control crowd at a Florida Gator football game after Tim Tebow just scored his millionth touchdown. And I could almost feel the breeze streaming from the back seat. I was blown away.
"I'll be a gator that snaps; you'll be a gator that slaps," said Elliott, "because some gators snap, and some gators slap, you know."
I didn't know. I had never considered it really. Thankfully, the three minute commute to daycare ended as we pulled into the center's driveway, and so too did Elliott's story. It's amazing the kind of story, and frankly the kind of memories, that can be crammed in a three minute drive with a 3 year old.
Speaking of imagination. While I was watching the scene in the video below unfold of Ian making his first catch, I couldn't help but start dreaming of 17 or 18 years from now. It is the national signing day when high school football players commit to the colleges they'll attend the next 4 years of their lives. We're all sitting on a stage - me, mama, Ian and Elliott. Notre Dame banners hung in the background. Elliott had signed with the Irish a couple of years before and he is proudly wearing his number 7 jersey (he never got over his love for "Jimmy"). Ian picks up his pen and signs on the dotted line. Coach Kelly gives us all hugs. Lou Holtz emerges from behind a curtain and joins the party. Mr. Holtz had been very active on behalf of the university recruiting Ian to the school. (I had encourage Ian to play hard to get with hope we'd get Mr. Holtz to pay us a visit.)
Then, in the middle of this wonderful dream, I was slapped with a dose of knowledge. The knowledge that I come from a long line of men whose vertical ceilings are far from cathedral. Frankly, the only person I know that I tower over is my wife, and only a couple of inches at that. There are some size exceptions, mostly on Katie's side, but the odds don't favor my boy's in that regard. I don't know if you've looked at college football players these days, but I've noticed in many of the post-game interviews the reporter often looks like a Volkswagen leaning against a Greyhound bus.
And so, as I continued to watch Ian laugh and catch, I thought to myself:
You're right Mr. Einstein, imagination is so much more important than knowledge.