By Arthur H. Gunther III
There are many things a boy or girl must learn if the magic of childhood is to remain intact, as it should in this forever scary world made by adults. One certain skill is the art of burping.
I recently instructed my grandson Sam in this most necessary practice, not by direct teaching but by example. We both enjoyed carbonated beverages, seltzer actually. I let nature take its course, and in a few minutes I had bubble relief. I said nothing to Sam and just went about my business. The grandson continued watching Ninja Turtles. Not long after, Sam got up, and I heard a noticeable burp. He said nothing, so I assume the lesson has been learned and the torch passed to a new generation. Sam knows burping is natural and that it is acceptable.
What makes it acceptable is that, by example, I burped with dignity, covering my mouth. Sam saw that and got the message.
The point of the story is that Sam enjoyed his burp, as did his grandfather. This growing boy, a child of innocence and wonder, who though he soon enough will be older and then a teen and then an adult, with all the worldly weight that carries, found a moment of priceless delight without guilt, one that required no heavy instruction from the tall people — adults.
My wish is that Sam, whenever he burps, no matter when he does that, even at age 99, remembers his grandfather’s silent example.
Life does not have to be complicated, and if most of Sam’s lessons are learned as easily as burping, he may not ever leave a childhood behind. Would that we all should keep that connection.
The writer is a retired newspaperman who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This essay may be reproduced.