Trevor refused to divulge his plan. “You’ll see when we get there,” he said.
He probably knew we’d all steal his idea if we had known ahead of time. We definitely would have stolen his idea.
So we set a 5-hour block appointment with our favorite tattoo artist. I had my design; Mom, hers; Kim –– my almost sister-in-law –– hers. Adam’s, of course, had to do with music to start a sleeve on his right arm instead of continuing his left.
But all of our ideas meant something, even Adam’s. Local Natives’s music inspires him, why not have lyrics tattooed on his arm? “Who Knows Who Cares” is a beautiful sentiment because, honestly, who knows anything and, frankly, who even cares?!?
But Trevor’s. Oh, Trevor’s. He won. His idea was the best. His meant the most.
My grandparents had different tapes we’d listen to on the way to Sunday School every week. The last van they purchased had to have a tape player so they could keep playing them. My three older brothers and I loved one particular tape the most out of the others. And even when a 16-year-old Jordan and then a 16-year-old Trevor took over the driving, pushing Grandma to the middle row of seats, we still loved listening to that tape.
A little boy –– I can’t quite remember his name –– went off walking one day, out in the woods to romp and play. He came to a clearing and happened upon a rather large pond. He hesitated. He wanted to get to the other side as fast as possible but wasn’t sure what to do.
“Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!” a group of young peeper frogs exclaimed.
“Better go around,” an old, deep-voiced bullfrog belched and Papa imitated him perfectly.
He thought about it. The little peeper frogs’ way was surely the best –– he’d get to the other side far more quickly and heck, if it’s only knee deep, he thought, why not?
“Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!”
Following the peeper frogs’ advice, the boy waded into the pond and passed the knee-deep level. The water got deeper and deeper and, because he couldn’t swim, the boy drowned in the pond.
“Shoulda gone around,” the bullfrog croaked.
I know what you’re thinking. What a terribly tragic story. But I never thought that; I always loved it. I can still hear Papa saying “Better go around” in his gruff voice while I shrieked “Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!” in my whiny, childish voice.
There’s a lesson in the story that I only recently realized: trust your wise elders and don’t rush life. Take the long way around. Enjoy the journey instead of rushing it to get to the destination. We know things didn’t end well for the little boy that day. He “Shoulda gone around.”
So tears gathered in my eyes when Trevor finally told us his tattoo idea. And when the tattoo artist lifted the needle from Trevor’s bicep for the final time, wetness trickled down
my freckled cheek.
Don’t get a tattoo just to get one. Make sure it means something to you. You win bonus points if it makes your little sister cry out of happiness like my brother’s did.