While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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I have this friend who loves to give me pens. They’re not for me. He tells me to give them to someone in my house who loves pens. That would be Ellen. Last night, however, he handed me a pocket knife. I immediately thought, “Oh, this must be for Jonah. Jonah loves knives.” And then I remembered.

Jonah really did love knives. An unavoidable fact that didn’t exactly make his parents comfortable. Why did he love them? Who knows? But from the time he was a little boy, he was always bugging me to get him one. Of course, in a million years Ellen would never allow that. So Jonah and I would content ourselves with visiting the Swiss Army Knife store in the Westchester Mall where he would amuse himself perusing the wide selection of stylish pocket versions. But he’d get the biggest kick out of asking me to buy him the ten-inch bladed Rambo knockoff. He’d smile that big Jonah smile and I’d think, just for a second, “What harm could it do?” And then I’d picture myself trying to explain it to Ellen. No sale, Jonah.

Katie, Jonah and Aiden Road Trip, Summer 2000

Katie, Jonah and Aiden
Road Trip, Summer 2000

That may be why he once “procured” a small pocketknife during a summer vacation’s road trip through Pennsylvania. He was eight or nine years old. I only noticed it a few months after we’d returned home. Imprinted on the handle was the name of a town we’d visited, and since I knew he hadn’t purchased it (I was the only male in the family with money back then), he must have lifted it. So I lifted it from him. I don’t think I ever gave it back. I’d meant to lecture him about it, but I don’t think that happened either. I must’ve had too much faith in the goodness in his heart, that it would never lose out either to dangerous play or continued shoplifting. Far as I can tell, I was correct. Jonah wouldn’t hurt a flea. And he saved so much money, he never had to resort to dishonesty to obtain things he wanted.

I brought the knife home and gave it to Aiden. No lecture. I have faith in him too.


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