Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fortunately, Sylvia Finds Fame Can Be Fleeting

By Anne Sullivan

Sylvia and I were walking down the road from the house. Alas, our destination was no longer the barn for there was no longer an occupant of the barn. We were simply walking for the joy of walking in the sun – and, of course, the wind.
“Is it wrong for me to want to be noticed?” Sylvia asked as we passed the big oak which was just beginning to bud.
“I suppose it depends on what you want to be noticed for,” I answered.
“I suppose.” Sylvia heaved a great sigh and went on to explain, “What I want to be noticed for is doing something terribly heroic like saving somebody’s life. You know, rushing into to save a baby from a housefire.”
“That might be difficult. We don’t know any babies and you can’t go into a burning house without wearing an SCBA,” I said.
“What’s an SCBA? It sounds like a breakfast cereal. If it tastes good, I’ll be glad to wear that.”
“It stands for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and I don’t think your head would fit into the mask well enough to get a tight fit.”
“Oh.” Sylvia sat on a rock with her back to me. From the drooping of her pudgy shoulders I could see that she was very disappointed.
“Why do you want to be noticed anyway?” I asked.
Sylvia sniffed. “I suppose it’s because now that I’m getting older, I feel people and other animals tend to overlook me. You’re pretty old. Don’t you feel that?”
“No,” I said after considering the question. “I don’t feel overlooked. Lots of people send me mail every day.”
“They do? Is that because you’re important?”
“Maybe they think I’m important to them. These letters are all from organizations asking me to send them money. And then there are catalogs from stores wanting me to buy something expensive from them. I wouldn’t mind being ignored just a little.”
“I do mind though,” said Sylvia in a wistful voice.
“But, Sylvia, you are noticed. People ask me about you all the time.”
“They do?”
“Yes, they do. I’m known as Sylvia’s mother and I’m proud of it.”
“You are?”
“Yes, indeed. Now, don’t you feel better?”
“A little,” she admitted. “But I still wish I could save someone like one of those rescue dogs who wear a keg of beer in the snow.”
“I think it’s a keg of brandy, not beer,” I corrected.
“Whatever. Those rescue dogs are respected. They’ve run through the deep snow to save somebody.”
“Speaking of snow,” I said, “do you remember a few months ago when we had all that snow and I went out to carry some wood from our buried woodpile and I fell down and couldn’t get up? Do you remember what you did?”
Sylvia looked bewildered and shook her head.
“Well, I’ll tell you. Every time I tried to get up by putting my hand on the ground to get some leverage my hand went through the snow and I couldn’t get up until –“
“Until what?”
“Until you saw what happened and came running through the snow and stood beside me so I could put my hand on your strong back.”
“So you could get up.”
“So I could get up. You saved me.”
“I did? I did, didn’t I? I saved you. I am important.”
“You sure are.”
“I saved you,” she said again with wonderment.
“You sure did,” I said with love. “You’re my hero.”

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