Grasshopper Soup: Little Lily gets the picture |

Grasshopper Soup: Little Lily gets the picture

There are some very troubling and suspicious things going on in our federal government. Even staunch liberal pundits like Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart have suddenly become quite vocal in criticizing the current administration. But forget about political corruption and government intrusiveness. I’d rather tell you about Lily.

Lily is five, and, on the surface, seems innocent. She is pretty and has black hair and a tan complexion. She is my cousin’s daughter. Her parents are divorced. Her dad dropped Lily off with his sister and me because he is the coach of a Little League team and had to go to the nearby baseball diamond to get his kids ready for their ball game.

Aunt Meg gave Lily some paper and drawing material so she could color while we waited to walk her to the ball park. With patient attention, Lily created an image of an odd green creature with long appendages that looked like arms, or maybe wings. She drew something red in the mouth of the green organism, and little red pieces that seemed to be falling from the strange animal’s mouth. I asked what it was she was drawing and she told me, quite matter-of-factly, as if I should have known, “It’s a dragon eating a rat.”

It is not easy to act impressed in the presence of an artist with such a wild imagination.

At the ball park, we met up with several more cousins, Lily’s aunts and uncles. She was trying to tell them that she wanted to go to the snack bar to get a spoon for her snow cone, but they were all too busy talking, and she was too little to go by herself.

Lily’s snow cone began as a cool treat glistening with red, blue and green colors but was now a mud-brown slush. I walked her to the snack bar and we found a spoon. Staring into the brown slush, and dipping her spoon into the remains of her once beautiful snow cone, Lily sadly said, “I’m a monster and I’m eating a person that’s all mushed up.”

People tell me I have a good imagination, but Lily was making me feel rather trite.

Lily is not likely to know what the executive branch of our federal government is doing because they don’t know themselves, but her wild imagination knows, metaphorically. We are all very curious to see what Lily will be like when she grows up. She may do well in government someday. But there is a big difference between Lily and the government. Lily is not afraid to admit what she is doing.

But forget politics. All we can see is the tip of the iceberg. Let’s wait. The scandals are bound to become a slushy brown mess. Then we’ll have something to talk about, like maybe the truth. Yes, the truth may come out. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, the government officials in question keep saying they don’t know anything about what goes on in their departments. But, if only a fraction of the subversive antics being reported is true, some very big heads (pun intended) are going to roll. There will also be formal vindication for our traditional rule of law and ethics. The consequences of these scandals may even be more dramatic and far-reaching than even Lily could imagine.

It seems sacrilegious to talk about the negative side of politics, which is most sides, near the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe, so just pretend we aren’t, except in the way a five-year-old might sullenly talk about dragons eating rats and monsters eating people.

Compared to Lake Tahoe, politics is slushy mud and should be ignored as often as possible, like a teenage tantrum. But that’s not easy to do, even when you live in Tahoe. But here we can always lose ourselves on the trail, on the water, or with friends enjoying a glass of wine and a great meal, perhaps mackinaw with salad and corn.

If you care to know what your government is up to, Lily can draw you a picture.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.

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