"It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!" old Phoebe said. "It's a poem. By Robert Burns."
"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns."
She was right, though. It is "If a body meet a body coming through the rye." I didn't know it then, though.
"I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,'" I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."
On Halloween, my 8 year old daughter was trick or treating with her best friend. These two have been constant companions since they were three years old. They even have the same birthday. For two little girls, there has never been a fight or cross word. It is a pretty special, unbelievable relationship.
Unfortunately, little Laura slipped and broke her arm at the beginning of the night. Her candy bag was empty and she was in immense, screeching pain. Birk was so upset. After the rest of the kids returned, they put a bag of candy together for Laura. Birk noted that she gave Laura all of her favorites.
Birk made her a card, and even included some money for her UNICEF trick or treating.
A couple of days later, we were driving in the car:
Me: What are you thinking about back there, you're pretty quiet?
Birk: Mom, I wish I could rewind time and do Halloween over again.
Birk: Then I would rewind the time and catch Laura before she could fall...
That little conversation reminded me of this quote from J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I hadn't thought about that book in a while. I love the idea of the Holden Caulfields of the world catching us if we are about to fall. May we all be so lucky.