I was singing “America, The Beautiful” as I pulled into the garage this evening. I can’t remember exactly why I was doing this, but it was probably to annoy my children because that’s exactly what it was doing. By the time I made it to the “fruited plains” they were already covering their ears, and they completely missed the part about God shedding his grace on “thee” because they were screaming as if they were in pain. America, America. The message of crowning thy good with brotherhood was sadly lost on my children.
I shut the car off and turned around. My son was kicking his legs and frowning. “Don’t sing that song, Dad.”
“Alright, sorry. It’s a good song though, why do you not want me to sing it?”
He ran his fingers through his hair and grabbed two fists full and grit his teeth. “Because… I have to hear that song EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!”
I looked at his sisters who were now completely sober from their own tantrums and watching their little brother with the same puzzled expression I was. “Okay guys, what’s he talking about?” I asked.
“Where do you hear this song every day, Gideon?”
“I hear it every day. EVERY. DAY. America! America! Over and over. A group of people singing that song, in my head.” He turned to face me. “America! America! It drives me INSANE!”
“Huh,” I said softly, which is my usual response in these types of situations. With a trembling hand, I reached over and pressed the button on his car seat and then immediately pulled my hand away for fear of what I had just released into the world. He laughed and sprung out of the car as if it were a jack-in-the-box that had fallen sideways in the grass.