Davis in Chicago

Davis, 15, my grandson helped me unload my suitcases last summer in the driveway of his new house in Abingdon, Virginia.

Abingdon is where the Barter Theater is and he is in the Comedy Improv class. He is bursting, or busting out.

On the swim team,

telling his mom he loves her just out of the blue.


Singing beautiful tenor in the choir.

Taking golf lessons, rather how-to-deal-with-failure-and-frustration lessons.


Still playing computer games on the Xbox.

Still a teenager, sometimes knowing everything.

Taking piano now and knows all about scales and notes and don’t tell him anything.

Still missing his brother who died 2 years ago, 8 years old.

William had a serious ailment his whole 8 years.

Davis got in his bed with him and read to him and played with him and was his best big brother.


That is Davis. And close to everything. He roots for University of South Carolina while his father roots for Clemson. The other day he admitted he might have to switch.


Sweetness and humility to match his knowing.


Last summer, I had just gotten back from a business trip to Dallas that I had taken Davis’s cousin Alexander, 12, on with me. Alexander is another story another day except to say that at 11, he asked me to write a biography of his whole life, which is coming along nicely.


Davis helped me with my bags and said, “When are you going to take ME on a trip?” Well, of course, I was all over that request. How often do you have a 15 year old want a trip with you? We talked about the Grand Canyon and St. Augustine, Florida. Then settled on Chicago for its architecture, one of his interests although lately musing about being a policeman.


We headed to Chicago the weekend before Thanksgiving and were there 4 days.


We studied on Frank Lloyd Wright, a house in Oakdale and a house on the campus of the University of Chicago where the tour guide thought he was a college student. Very thrilling mistake.


We used Uber drivers and rated them on their conversational ability and driving safety.


We had Chicago deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati’s, swooning and taking some back to our hotel for a movie and pizza later.


We rented movies in our room at the Embassy Suites. That hotel has suites so a bedroom and a living room. Perfect for us. We sat on the sofa and he put his feet in my lap for a rub.


We discussed Christianity and abortion and evolution and the presidential election. We discussed the Golden Rule and grass fed beef and what being a Buddhist is.


We laughed hard at the “Intouchables” movie about the ex-convict being the caregiver of a wealthy athletic newly quadriplegic, had hot chocolate and ice-skating.


We wrote in our journals each day. We went to a French bakery and got macaroons and a brownie that unfortunately had too many nuts.


We walked and walked.

We found Pokémon.


We rode First Class up and back. I told him he was my upgrade good luck charm.


The last night we were set for the steakhouse and he had a headache. I told him I didn’t want to go out to dinner and have him be miserable. Yet I didn’t want to stay in the hotel room and order room service and watch a movie either.


He said, “Let’s go to dinner and I will be in a good mood I will be good company I will be a good date I won’t be miserable.”


And we did and he did and it was a lovely evening with Willy the waiter taking care of us all the way through the meal at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Dearborn Street.


He learned how to put on and take off my coat, how to hold the door on the elevator, how you stand back for people to get off the elevator, how to put his left arm in his lap. How to call an Uber. How to tell his mother she is beautiful.


We meditated and listened to Deepak Chopra. We gave money to the street people and to the Salvation Army.


We went to Macy’s and looked at the Christmas decorations.


It was 32 degrees. We were very wrapped up and happy.


Frank Lloyd Wright designed spaces for conversations and family meals and for playing children and for putting on performances. He designed rooms to have open windows across from each other. The fireplace areas had seating near the fireplace as an intimate little gathering spot for 2 or 3. There were no knick-knacks anywhere. All surfaces were bare and clean and beautiful polished oak.


That all is to say we did see his spaces. Davis loved his studio the most, with drawings on the tables we could get close to.


I came home and saw my clutter in a brighter light.


But first, I saw and used my writing table.