77 Central Street, Manchester, NH 03101 • www.DaveNixonLaw.com • 603.669.7070 • April 2018
FROM REAL EXPERIENCES Before my disability, I loved to golf. One time on the course, I learned what an incredible
W hen I was a kid, my parents didn’t read me any of those typical children’s stories. Since both of my parents are deaf, I didn’t get read to aloud. So, I grew up not knowing any of the typical nursery rhymes or fairy tales. When my wife Anne and I started to read these kinds of stories to our kids, they were all new to me. One night, my youngest daughter Rebecca asked me to read her a story just to help her fall asleep. Rebecca is 12 and is perfectly capable of reading on her own, but she was restless that evening and said she wanted to listen to my voice while I read to her. I didn’t see any problem with it, so I read to her “The Story of the Three Bears,” but it had me reeling. I found myself thinking, “What kinds of lessons are these stories teaching our kids?” Goldilocks wanders through the forest on her own, trespasses into the bears’ house, breaks their furniture, and eats all their food. “Hansel and Gretel” is similarly problematic. The children in the story also invade a stranger’s home and help themselves to her food, but this time, they push the owner of the house into a fire, too! I am always unsure of what these stories are trying to teach kids. So instead of reading these fairy tales to my children, I try to tell them about real ones instead. A true event might teach them a more valuable lesson than breaking and entering. One of my favorite stories to tell is about my grandfather, Alex Simoneau, who lived to be 103.
man my grandfather was. I had gathered all my clubs
and was handing my credit card to the guy across the counter to pay for the day. He glanced at my card and asked, “Your last name is Simoneau? Are you related to Alex Simoneau?” Puzzled, I confirmed that he was my grandfather. The man promptly handed my card back to me and said that I could play for free that day. He also requested I tell my grandfather that Mr. Smith — that’s what he called himself — said thanks. The exchange had me eager to talk to my grandfather. The next time I saw him, I asked about this man, Mr. Smith, and how my grandfather knew him. During the Depression, my grandfather owned a coal supply, and his product was generally used to heat people’s homes. Apparently, Mr. Smith had been a little boy during that era, and his father owed my grandfather money. The story goes that Mr. Smith’s dad had passed away, leaving his wife and son in debt. The wife, was aware of the debt and wanted to do all she could to settle it. She went to my grandfather to inform him of her husband’s passing and tell him she would pay as soon as she was able. Well, my grandfather told her that her husband had settled the debt a few weeks prior to his death and she owed nothing. So he lied, and even the wife knew it. Then, a whopping 75 years later, I was gifted a free round of golf from the woman’s son. What are the chances? When my grandfather told me the story, it was clear that he wasn’t bragging. And had I never asked, I probably would have never known. Grandfather died 5 or 6 years after he told the tale. Around that time, his family priest, Father Paul, gave me a curious ledger. In it, I found name after name of people my grandfather helped in a similar way. I was awed by the pages recounting all of those whose debts my grandfather forgave. He had every right to collect what was owed, but my grandfather acted with spectacular compassion instead.
I tell my kids the moral of the story: You never know when the act of kindness will come around. These true stories are the tales that have the most meaning, offering our children life lessons they can carry throughout their lives.
Kirk Simoneau 603.669. 7070 • 1
Guiding You Through Life’s Trials
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