"Graham, do you like the Beatles?" our neighbor asked, with almost a gasp, suddenly noticing the band's logo gracing the front of his 5T Baby Gap. I couldn't exactly tell if she was being facetious or if she was impressed.
He squinted up at her in the sun, sitting on his bike at the end of her driveway, where he had been listening to us chat about her college poetry class - the one she teaches to undergrads and wonders how much they care, trying to keep their cloudy brains in the game. Sometimes using music references as a crutch. He didn't know she was referring to his shirt.
"Sometimes," I replied for my little guy. "He just really loves rock... to watch bands on Palladia. Kindermusik doesn't quite keep his attention."
"Do they have electric guitars?" he asked her, with 5-year-old intrigue.
"Yes, sometimes!" she replied, seemingly excited for his bucking-the-toddler-system interest. Or perhaps enjoying that she was schooling another human being about this group called the Beatles. That these so-called Beatles played guitars. Like she was letting this kid on the world's biggest a-ha moment.
"And base hits?!" Now he was excited, too. A Beatle. Yes! Now that sounds like something special - they have electric guitars and base HITS!! (No, I don't know what those are, either.)
We chuckled at the cuteness of a 5-year old discovering the Beatles and their guitars. We said goodnight and that shirt went into the dirty clothes basket without another thought.
Then a few days later, in the car, in our ears -- there they were. I turned it up loud. "Graham, it's the Beatles!" I exclaimed. "What do you think?!"
He listened. He asked to hear the electric guitar. He listened. He was quiet. Taking in those... Beatles. Just another radio song? Maybe. Just another band logo to make Baby Gap-buying parents fork over a few more bucks for the perception of cool? Yeah, mostly.
And then, last night, as we sat in the comfy chair in his room in the dark, rain started coming down softly. He turned to the window and slipped behind the blinds to look up at the night sky. He stood a while gazing.
Then he whispered to no one in particular out of the blue.
"I love the Beatles."