For Daniel Silveria’s Family and Friends – His Stories

I “met” Daniel Silveria in 2004 when we were both bloggers on When we first met, I did not know that he was wheelchair-bound—he never referred to it in any of his wildly humorous posts.

It was not until he and I collaborated on a series of children’s stories that I learned he had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. In later years, Daniel would write about this in his blog post called Justifying My Existence.
Daniel was a gifted writer, a brilliant thinker, and one of my dearest friends – even though we never met face-to-face. He never complained about his life to my family or me—he encouraged us, kept us laughing, and sometimes made us cry, all though the gift of his words.
Daniel went to be with the Lord on December 10. Today, Friday, December 16, is his funeral in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Since I can’t be there to celebrate the life of this gifted young man, I want to share with all of you two of the stories he wrote. They are excerpts from Introducing Paxton Grundle.

First, Daniel’s description of Paxton:

“My name is Paxton Grundle. I’m six and a half, and live in a big ole house on Cranberry Street. At least I think it’s big. Everything looks big to me cuz I’m jus’ little. But I’m tall for my height. I live with my mom and dad, my dog, Fur-Face, and my big, smelly, older sister, Kelly. I like Mom, Dad, and Fur-Face.”

Kiddie Table

By Daniel Silveria

So, it’s Thanksgivin’ again and, even though I’m a whole year older than I was last year—if I did my math right—they still had me sit at the kiddie table. They sure know how to make a guy feel small. I was forced to sit with Cousin Emo, Cousin Deborah Ann, and Diaper-load Davey. Besides them, there was a bunch of new kids I didn’t rectonize. They keep addin’ new faces to the mix every year, but nobody ever runs it by me. I don’t know where they all come from. Mom told me about an ostrich, or somethin, droppin’ babies off to their mommies and daddies. Maybe it was a carrier pigeon, I don’t member.
Cousin Emo is a year older than me, but about 100 years dumber. He likes to punch ya in the shoulder when you’re not s’pectin’ it; and he kicks at your legs under the table. For some reason, nobody sees it when he does it to me, but if I taliate and do the same thing to him, then I get yelled at and get no chocolate cream pie! Emo doesn’t do this to Diaper-load Davey. In fact, most us kids keep a safe distance from Davey. He’s a good enough guy, I guess, but he’s not a winner, ‘specilly by a nose.
Deborah Ann is the most annoyin’ girl on the face of the earth—and that’s a doobies distinction, cuz all girls are annoyin’. For one thing, she’s got two first names. Jus’ who does she think she is? Pick a name and stick with it, that’s what I did. But that’s not even the most annoyin’ thing about her; she insists on bein’ all touchy-feely—GROSS! Deborah Ann tries to kiss me every chance she gets! She looks like a big ole guppy fish comin’ at you with her lips puckered all the time. I’d probably get in trouble for punchin’ her, too. So, the whole time I’m sittin’ at the table, I’ve got the two-name Deborah Ann hangin’ onto one arm and Cousin Emo sockin’ me in the other one. I was outnumbered and hand-in-capped, cuz the grown-ups at the aptilly named Grown-up Table were completely ‘blivious!
My older sister, Smelly Kelly, has been allowed at the Grown-up Table for as long as I can ‘member, and she rubs my face in it. I’ll look over at her and she’ll be grinnin’ down at me like she’s Queen Turkey. Ha ha and ha! That’s cuz she is! Queen of all turkeys—a big ole stuffed bird!
Anyway, Smelly Kelly was sittin’ next to Uncle Ned, and that’s no treat when he’s scarfin’ down Gramma Edie’s baked beans. Even Kelly gets out-smellied in that contest. P U!
Bein’ that my arms were both ocktey-pied most of the time, my food was gettin’ cold. One time, Dad told me that cold turkey was probably the hardest thing he’d ever done. It really wasn’t that hard, though. The cold mashed tatters were much worse. So, I flung most of ‘em at Emo with my fork, cattapolt style—ha ha!! Hittin’ him at all was good enough; the fact that some really got stuck in his hair for the rest of the day was jus’ gravy on the pate.
I would have taken a shot at Deborah Ann, too, but she’s such a Clingon I couldn’t get my arm free. She told me she has a crush on me, and she said it in front of everybody. That girl has had more crushes on more people than the auto yard crusher machine has had on cars. There are strains of cooties named after her! Diaper-load Davey was the only one smart enough to keep his distance.

The Santa Plan

By Daniel Silveria

I was watchin’ Barbara Walters’s 10 Most Interestin’ People of the Year show and couldn’t believe that Santa Claus didn’t make the list! Is Barbara Walters wacko or somethin’? None of the guests she inner-viewed can travel ‘round the ‘tire world in one night. Maybe some of ‘em could slide down a chimney, but I serially doubt any of ‘em could push a button in their nose and fly back up the chimney. This guy is incredible! At least interestin’, I’d say.
I stayed up last year, tryin’ to see Santa. I know, I know, that’s a bad-boy thing to do, cuz he knows when you are sleepin’ and he knows when you’re awake, an’ he knows if you been bad or good and if you stole the cake! But he’s getting’ old, ya know, so I was thinkin’ I would test ‘em to see if he was still sharp. My Gramma is like a million years younger than him, and she tries to change the microwave with the TV remote. So I figured it was possible Santa was getting’ rusty too.
So I waited and waited for Mom and Dad to go to sleep, so that I could sneak out and watch for The Big Guy. But they kept comin’ into my room, checkin’ to see if I was still awake! That was getting’ very tirin’. I had to hold my eyes open with my fingers some of the time. I kept callin’ Fur-Face over to lick my face, so that I would be freshed up, but I could tell he was getting’ aggravated cuz he wanted to go to sleep himself.
Dogs aren’t much interested in Santa Claus, I guess. Make that Dogs and Barbara Walters.
Mom came in for the third time to check on me, and this time she said that Santa was prolly avoidin’ our house cuz I was still not sleepin’. She ‘spressed concern that we might not get any presents if I stayed awake much longer. Meanwhile, I’m slappin’ myself in the head, attempin’ to keep myself from dozin’ off.
It was like 10,000 o’clock or somethin and I was startin’ to question the whole plan. Obvidiously Santa was still sharp enough to know that I was still not sleepin’. But I had stayed up that late so far, and I wasn’t ‘bout to call it quits after all that.
The next time Mom came into my room, I maked believe that I was sleepin’. She said, “Paxton? Paxton, are you awake?” and this time I didn’t say a thing.
When she left, I popped up and snucked out of my room real quiet. I barely knew where I was goin, cuz I was so tired. I heard whisperin’ in the living room, and then I heard the front door open. This woked me up right away, cuz I was thinkin’ Santa ‘sided to use the front door stead of the chimney!
I frozed right where I was. A trillion things started goin’ through my mind. I was a-scared too. If he caught me bein’ awake, there’d be no Christmas presents for Paxton Grundle. So I looked around for a place to hide. First thing I saw was the Christmas tree, but, when you’re tryin to hide from Santa, under the Christmas tree prolly isn’t the best choice. My heart was thumpin’ so fast I thought I was goin to be heartiac arrested! If I heard somebody say “Ho Ho Ho” I’d have dropped dead right then and there.
Then I jus’ started runnin’ with no ‘ticular destination in mind. I ran through the dinin’ room, passed the kitchen, into the laundry room, and then jumped into the clothes basket. But it was dark in there and would hamper my view of Mr. Claus—which was what this was all ‘posed to be ‘bout—so I jumped back out. (Also, it smelled like dirty laundry in there.)
By this time—really late—I was ‘zausted, so I couldn’t run no more. I jus’ kinda dragged myself around like a puppet. ‘Ventually I found myself crawlin’ to the sofa, which was back in the livin’ room, which was prolly where Santa was. I was ready to confess to bein’ a bad-boy and ‘cept what was comin to me. It would be worth it jus’ to see him at last.
When I finally got to the sofa, nobody was in the room ‘cept for me and the tree. It was all sparklin’ and the lights were blinkin’ off and on and off and on. That kinda made my stayin’ awake that much more harder. My eyes were all blurry, and the sofa was so soft. My head started tellin myself that I could jus’ take a quick nap before Santa came back with more presents. I didn’t believe my head, cuz it’s wrong 10 times out of 9, but my eyelids started agreein’ with my head and they started closin’ by themselfs.
And that’s when I heard the front door open again. I heard bags bangin’ and clutter clatterin’. I wanted so bad to be able to wake up, but I was like two-thirds asleep, or maybe four quarters. Beats me—I hadn’t taken math at school yet, let alone Geometry.
With eyes fuzzier than Fur-Face the time Smelly Kelly blow dried his fur, I could see big, black, snow-covered boots walkin’ toward me. As my heavy eyes went up higher, I could see red pants above the black boots. Then I tried to get my eyes to go up even further. That’s when all I saw was black, cuz my eyes were closed. Last thing I ‘member was somebody whisperin’ “Merry Christmas, Paxton.”
The next mornin’, I woked up on the sofa, surrounded by presents. I done did it! I managed to saw Santa and still got tons of gifts! Me and my family sat around openin’ up all the stuff. Fur-Face knocked over the Christmas tree, cuz he’s not used to seein’ trees inside the house—thought it was an ‘truder or somethin’, I guess. But anyway… everything was perfect and the best thing was openin’ the presents.
There’s no time like the present. No time at all.

 My dearest Daniel – I love you to the moon.
Published in: on December 16, 2011 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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