A Breakfast Conversation

Ben H. Swett
Pease AFB, NH
10 October 1964

I am not responsible for anything I say or do before the second cup of coffee in the morning--especially on Saturday morning--and I consider anyone who wakes up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to be a member of some other species, so I was not particularly enthusiastic when my five-year-old son, Bruce, came bouncing into the kitchen full of energy and beaming like a miniature Buddha.

"You look happy," I said.

"Yup, I'm happy." He proceeded to load a cereal bowl with Captain-Somebody's crunchy flakes.

"How come you're so happy so early in the morning?"

"I saw Lord Jesus last night."

I was suddenly wide awake. I was almost certain he had never heard the words "Lord" and "Jesus" put together that way. My wife and I did not use the term. I had been on an aircrew since before this child was born, and during that time we hardly attended church at all. Where was this casual comment coming from?

While I thought about what he said and how I should respond to it, my cheerful son finished his cereal and commenced doing terrible things to a piece of toast with large quantities of peanut butter. I decided to play it down the middle--not to make a big thing out of nothing, and at the same time not to squash something if it happened to be real.

"What did Lord Jesus say?"

"Didn' say nuffin'." Actually, he spoke very plainly, but at the moment his mouth was full of toast and peanut butter.

"What did he do?"

"He just smiled with his light."

I swallowed rather more coffee than I intended to. One might expect to find those words in the vocabulary of a fully developed mystic, but a five-year-old? Again, I selected a response to match his casual, matter-of-fact attitude.

"Was he pretty?"

"Oh, yes. He's always pretty." With which he hopped down from the chair, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, smiled sweetly, and went outside to play.

I sat there with my coffee and my thoughts--including the firm conviction that what I had just heard was a factual report by a qualified observer.