Write Team: Through the eyes of a child

June and her parents stayed at our house on the Fourth of July. June is 17 months old.

Papa was in the kitchen when he heard June. When he opened her bedroom door June smiled at him.

“Stay in bed,” Papa told June’s parents. “I’ll feed June breakfast and entertain her.”

Papa and June split a bowl of steel cut oats.

“Let’s go outside June and see what we can find.”

The backyard stretched from the house to the shack to the ravine beyond. Sunlight made its way through the ravine and fell in streaks across the lawn.

Now she can, June prefers to walk. They walked to one of the big oak trees. Papa lifted June up.


On the oak was a concrete face of a woman with her eyes closed.

June waved.


June talked to the face in a string of syllables that rose in the middle, fell, and then rose again at the end. Uptalking.

“She’s not alive if that’s what you’re asking.”

June accepted that. They walked to the next oak.

Papa said the names of the face parts nailed to this tree: eyes, nose mouth, and then pointed to June’s corresponding parts and said them again. June touched both sides of her head.

“You’re right. No ears. Poor tree can’t hear a thing.”

June looked deeply into Papa’s eyes, as if to agree.

Papa and June walked onto the shack porch. On a nearby choke cherry tree is a red steel bear.


“Hi,” June said, waving.

“What does the bear say?”


“You’re right June. You are darned smart. You know that?”

Papa and June walked into the shack. June’s eyes grew wide. She reached up for the deer foreleg on Papa’s stereo speaker.

“Don’t touch that June. Papa found it. Coyotes ate the rest.”

June saw a vinyl head near the rafters.

“Hi,” June said, waving.

“That’s Howdy Doody. All that’s left of a ventriloquist doll Papa got long ago.”

June turned around. Her eyes found a wooden mask in the peak of the gable. She looked frightened.

“Hi,” she said softly, waving to the scary mask hanging high on the wall.

“Let’s go back outside June.”

The sun was higher, shining through the oaks. A breeze swayed their branches. Shadows and patches of light danced across the lawn.

Papa saw something. He pointed across the lawn. June saw it too.

“It’s a bunny.”

June has a book with bunnies. But as far as Papa knew, this was her first look at a real bunny.

“Hi,” June said, waving.

“Go pet the bunny.”

June looked back at Papa, her eyes wide, then ran towards it.

The bunny froze. June never slowed. She waved again.


The bunny finally ran but not far. It stopped and froze again.

June ran on, waving. When the bunny changed direction, so did June. Papa felt too far away and scurried after them.

A baby bunny in its first summer, running from June in her second summer, followed by Papa in his 71st.

Oh, to be a baby in a world where every face is worthy of a wave and every new image a discovery. And thank God for allowing old men to again see the world through the eyes of a child.

  • Dave McClure lives in Ottawa. He is a long-retired director of a local private agency. He is also a blogger. You can read more of Dave at Daveintheshack.blogger.com