DIANE BINKLEY: Yes, I have a question for Christopher Harper, the delightful youngest child in the book, Playing on the Black Keys. But first, if I could, I’d like to make an observation. Christopher, in many ways you seem more grown-up than your father. I guess my first question would be, do you think so? The second question is harder: There’s a thing…out in the woods that you’re not supposed to talk about… Do you know what I’m talking about?”
CHRISTOPHER: “Yes. You’re talking about the Man Tree. Dad and I had a talk about a year ago…right after he crashed the plane. He explained that it was all right now. Nothing bad would happen by my talking about it.”
DIANE B: That’s good. I’m glad to hear it. Do you still go out there?”
CHRISTOPHER: To the Man Tree? Yes, sometimes. Sometimes if Mom and Dad have a fight. Sometimes if I just want to be alone…well, not alone, but with someone who won’t talk my ear off. The Man Tree is a good listener, but…”
DIANE B: But what?”
CHRISTOPHER: It’s kinda hard to explain. When I was younger, like a year or two ago, I had an idea of him as…like some kind of super hero, or like he could do a lot of stuff…kid stuff. And I don’t think he can. But there’s something…bigger or…quieter. When I go out there, I sit and think. And really, really good answers come to me when I’m out there. He’s good at helping that way. But, he’s not a conversationalist. No way.
DIANE B: And your Dad?
CHRISTOPHER: Well… He’s my dad. He’s bigger and he’s done a whole bunch of stuff. But…I don’t think it’s very important for him to be grown-up. It’s more like the opposite. I think he’s afraid of growing up too much.”
DIANE B: And you?
CHRISTOPHER: I don’t know. I think I’m pretty grown up right now. I don’t think I’d want to take it too much farther. I’ve never heard a grown-up say it, but, is there such a thing as being too grown up?
DIANE B: I don’t know, Christopher. And Christopher, may I ask you some questions sometime in the future?”