Normally, I wouldn’t give a spot on my KNOWvember to interview someone I already know. After spending the holiday weekend with him at his house, I realized I wasn’t the one who needed to know about him, the world does. On the surface he appears to be just your average little kid. But once you get past the sweet smile and freckled nose, you discover something greater lurking below.
Unlike a stranger, getting Brady to talk wasn’t a problem. In fact, it’s safe to say he lives to talk. You might think that’s a typo…and what I meant to say Brady “loves” to talk (that would have been true because he does love to talk) but it’s not a typo. This kid was born to gab; therefore he is meant to talk. He’s a born entertainer. Funny, wise, observant, and witty. And he lives to talk to you as if it’s his sole purpose in life.
I asked Brady the same series of questions I’ve asked everyone this year. And the only thing I had to explain to him was, “What does a series mean?” As we sat together at the breakfast table, Brady listened intently and answered from the heart. But before I reveal those answers, let me give you some basic info to help you learn about him.
First of all, Brady wants you to know that he is in first grade and has no girlfriends. When I asked him about that, Brady rolled his eyes to the ceiling and with his Cheshire grin he laughed, “Girlfriends? No thanks!”
Speaking of the way he smiles; Brady is also missing a few teeth and is looking forward to losing more. Apparently, he likes to pull his own. “I just started wiggling them with my finger. Then I kept wigging it with my tongue. Then I just pulled them out. No big deal.” I can’t tell you if he’s big for his age, but I know that he’s athletic, and naturally possesses a kind of fearless confidence that is the envy of all.
Brady is the middle child. He has an older brother and younger sister. He is my wife’s sister’s child, who came into the world with some fairly serious medical issues. At the age of two had his first open heart surgery to repair a dysfunctional heart valve. But if you were to ask me, I’d say they did a great job because his heart is pretty good. He might be a tough kid on the outside, but inside he’s all mushy goodness.
He stops to tell me that he likes a book called The Owl Dairies, which he checked out from the library.
When I asked him what he likes to do with his hands, I assumed it might be schoolwork or read, or maybe something with owls or other animals because he does have two golden retrievers named Georgia and Montana. Nope. I was wrong. In his own words, “I like to draw pictures. Or paint. Sometimes I play sports.”
(Fun Fact: Brady is in the process of illustrating the Bible. Although he has skipped over a few important chapters I will admit that he’s doing pretty good so far.)
When I asked, “Where was the last place you walked to?” I figured with him being a kid, I would expect him to say downstairs to the kitchen or to the bathroom. Instead, he gave my query some serious thinking. “I’m pretty sure it was up a mountain.”
I think he noticed my disbelief because he turned to his dad who was listening in and asked, “Dad, where’s that place mom walks? Oh, the ridge. It was exhausting. But we saw a wild turkey.” (Just so you know, they live outside of San Francisco near these beautiful foothills that lead into Sonoma Valley. I had no idea there would be wild turkeys.)
Next, I asked “What do you want people to know about you after you leave a party?” His answer showed a more tender side of him. Now, before he answered me he had to let me know, “I have been to a lot of parties.” And then, without missing a beat, he continued, “I’m a really good friend.” When I asked him to explain what that meant, he added, “Usually when we play games, I like all games so I don’t care, I’ll just play whatever.”
He seems to go with the flow really well. It’s hard to knock him out of this space. In all the years I have known him, I can’t recall him ever crying. I’m sure he has because Brady takes in all of life. He just does it in good stride.
“So Brady. Do you have a question for me?” Shoveling another quesadilla in his mouth he said, “Nope. Just one.” Still chewing he asked, “When was the last time you were really annoyed with someone?” I could hear his dad laugh in the kitchen. I let his dad answer for me, “Last night.” (We were with our in-laws, so let’s just leave it there for now.) “Yeah,” Brady chimed in, “tell me about it.”
(Fun Fact: Brady likes to use phrases he hears that he has no idea what they mean. It’s rather funny.)
“Let me ask you another question,” he said. “Would you rather drink five whole gallons of soda in one minute or have super annoying dogs that would always jump up and bite your ears all the time?” For the record, I choose A: “drink a bunch of soda.”
“Now you ask me one,” he demanded. “Do you believe soup is a meal? Why or why not?” He thought for a moment while staring at his empty plate. Then with all seriousness he told me, “I’d say that’s not a meal. Because if you have a meal, well that’s a bunch of food. Soup is just one thing with a bunch of food stuff in it.”
When I asked him “If you could live in another era of history, what would that time be and what would be want to be doing?” His reply was classic Brady. “That time when the cavemen roamed. They had clubs. I want a caveman club. Plus, I’d like to see a real-life dinosaur. I don’t care which type. They’re all pretty cool until they eat you.”
If you could have a one-on-one dinner with someone who would it be? He rattled off a bunch of names (after all he’s part of a very big extended family). But he settled on one. “My dad’s dad. I only got to see him for like a week.” (Actually, it he had known his grandfather for three years before he passed away. But still, a mushy moment for us all.)
I only had two more questions left. With most people I would try to slow things down to keep the conversation going. But with Brady, the conversation just keeps on going whether you are listening or not.
I needed to know, “What does a good deed mean to you?” Shrugging his shoulders and wanting to leave the table he just said, “When you do something for the earth or someone. Showing them respect and stuff.”
Then lastly, “Where is a place you have visited that you would never go back to?” No hesitation there. Picking up his plate he walks off saying, “Man, I’d never want to walk the ridge again. It’s just too high. But if there was ever an Ellaland…” (that’s the name he calls the place where Ella in the animated movie Frozen lived) “I’d never want to go there.”
I know this kid. And now you do too. It might be safe to say that Brady is going places. Lots and lots of places. But for now, he has to get in my car. It’s time to go back to Nana’s house, “Just to not do anything.”
Nana has the leftover turkey. Since he doesn’t want to go back up that ridge to find that wild turkey, Nana’s house was the only place we were going to get some more leftovers. And more conversations.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”