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home : opinion : opinion July 19, 2018

9/8/2017 12:01:00 AM
Kids' Conversation

Marty Reep, Author
Speaker, Forward-Thinker

When we were kids, my sister and I would lay down on the grass under a shade tree in the summer time to beat the heat.  We’d start talking about whatever came to mind.  That’s when the “I wonders”, aka “thought-jumps” would happen.  This was one of those conversations…

“Do you smell that?” I asked my sister.

“Yeah, I’m lying here on the ground, too,” she replied.

“I know, but do you smell it?”

“Yep, it’s cut grass…”

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“It’s greeeeennn.”

“Yeah, it’s green, because it’s cut grass.”

“But, it smells green.” My sister leaned over and looked at me like, “Duh.” “Seriously, though,” I continued, “it smells green.”

“Because grass is green.”

“Yes.  So, the question becomes, ‘Would cut grass still smell green if it weren’t the color green?  Would it smell like strawberries, if it was red?’  That’s what I’m really after.”

“You want strawberry-smelling grass?”

“No, that’s not what I meant.  I just wonder what the stuff would smell like if it was red, instead of green.”

“Oh, I see what you mean.”

“Well what?”

“Well, what do you think?”

“About what?”

I stared at her in frustration. “About the grass!”

She giggled and said, “I’m just messin’.”

I shook my head…

She said, “I think it would look weird if the whole yard was red, instead of green, but if it smelled like strawberries, then it would smell good.  But, red would just be odd.”

“Ok, ok.  Forget about it being red.  What if the grass here in our yard was still green, but it smelled like strawberries?  Or what if different sections smelled like different foods?  That’d be cool, wouldn’t it?”
“I guess…I mean…I don’t know…I guess.”

“What I’m trying to say is that I wonder if we put the color green with what we smell when somebody cuts the grass.  Or, is it that we think it’s green, because that’s just what it is?”

“Where’d this idea come from?”

“From lying here on the ground.”

She looked at me with a sister’s “huh?” look. 

I tried to explain, “We’re here in the yard, so I’m thinkin’ about the yard.  If we were down at the beach, I’d be asking the same thing about sand.”

“You mean, like, why it smells brown?”


“But, that’s because it’s sand.”

“And, that’s my point!  Do we think ‘color’ based on ‘smell’, or ‘smell’ based on ‘color’?  Is it one or the other, neither, or both?”

“I don’t know?”

“I don’t either, that’s why I’m asking.”

She started giggling, again… “You’re weird.”

“No, I’m not.  I just say what other people are wondering, too…but, they’re just afraid to say it.”


“Because it comes into my mind, so I say it.”


“No, what?”

“No, why don’t other people say what they’re thinking?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then, how do you know they’re thinking it?”
“Because, after I say what I’m thinking, sometimes they say, ‘Hey, I was just thinking the same thing!’”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she said.

“So, you were thinking about what would grass smell like if it weren’t green, too?”

“No, I wasn’t thinking that.”

“What were you thinking, then?”

“I was thinking that I sure am glad I’m not an ant.”

“Why were you thinking that?”

“’Cause ants are so tiny, you’d never get anywhere.  It would take you all day just to get down to the creek.”

I replied, “But if you lived next to the creek, then you’d always be there.”

“Yeah, and you’d get washed away when a big storm comes in the summer time.”

“You’re right.  So, do ants smell like summer?”

“Huh?  Not everything has to smell like something else.” 

“Ok.  But, it does.”

“Oh, my gosh.”

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