Five years ago when my son Sammy was 14 we read J.D. Salinger’s book Franny and Zooey on different coasts simultaneously. I was traveling for beer dinners and distributor meetings on the west coast. Sammy was home in coastal Delaware attending 8th grade.
During that time we started a text-message thread to discuss the book, honing in on the goofy-intellectual sense of humor of the characters and the major themes of existentialism and spirituality. (Yeah, not your typical text chat.)
There’s a scene in the book where the younger brother, Franny, makes a short pilgrimage down the hallway in the family house to the bedroom shared by his older brothers in their childhood.
These brothers turned a closet door into a secular version of the Ten Commandments for all siblings to bear witness. The door showcased hand-written inspirational quotes from different provocative thinkers of bygone eras and various cultures.
Sammy and I loved the idea of this door, but agreed it was a little high-brow and borderline pretentiousness. In our text thread we shared quotes from stuff we were reading or music we were listening to that we felt deserved a place on a door of our own.
“In art you and desire may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” ~Patti Smith
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” ~Iron Mike Tyson
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~Dorothy Parker
“Are you amplified to rock? Are you hoping for contact?” ~Robert Pollard, Guided by Voices
For Sammy’s high-school graduation present I painted a door with quotes we shared back and forth on that text thread along with a few doozies that were on the door described in Franny and Zooey.
My wife, Mariah, contributed a single quote, which I believe is the most concise and important statement of them all at the bottom of the door.
“Always be there for Grier.” ~XOXO, Mom & Dad
Grier being Sammy’s younger sister.
The door hangs in Sammy bedroom in our home. When I call him at college now I often take a short pilgrimage and I sit on his couch looking up at the painted door as we chat and catch up.
Technology is weird and scary and exciting. But this project brought Sammy and I together in a way that will always be precious to me at a time in our lives where we were often far apart from each physically. Many closet doors in many family homes across many countries have notches or pen-marks delineating the physical growth spurts of a well-loved child. This door tells a different story.
—Sam Calagione is the brewmaster of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales and the author of Off-Centered Leadership.
Source: Read Full Article