After I found out that my monster (cancer) was back, Sharon found this children's book and mailed it to me with a personal letter. I took it to my office, where I am the high school principal. It sat on a shelf until one day I knew I had to read it to Mrs. Whitlock's AP English class. I will let Senior Maricela Coronado tell you the rest in a letter that was published in our local paper.
Sir Kevin of Honey Grove
When people think of their greatest fear they picture snakes, spiders, terrestrial creatures, and maybe even the act of dying. When people think of pain they picture world hunger, depression, and loss; yet when thinking about life, most people will think of their family, a place called home, and God. As humans, we all have our own individual way of dealing with our pain and fear.
Walking into our classroom we all noticed his smile, enthusiasm, and his will to live a normal life. It was hard to not notice the mask on his face, the hair that was missing, and the joy in his eyes. Mr. Weaver is our high school principal. Most days he is watching us progress in our studies, but this particular day he entered the senior class to talk about life.
As a senior, you realize that life is passing, time is rushing, and people are changing. With these thoughts in mind, my senior class watched as Mr. Weaver entered our classroom. He carried an old and faded book in his hand. He stood at the front and asked if he could share a story with us—a children’s book. As seniors we had long forgotten what story time felt like, so we eagerly invited him wondering what the story would be about.
He held up the book: Sir Kevin of Devon. It was quickly pointed out that the book had his name. Mr. Weaver smiled and began to read, “’I’ll fight this monster!’ Brave Kevin Said.’” As a senior, it’s hard enough to try to picture yourself in a future that you have no idea about. It’s even harder to tell yourself that you are no longer a child, especially when you are having story time with your principal. Everyone listened as Mr. Weaver continued to read, “He carried a sword, and a shield, and a mace. But proudest of all was the look on his face… Good sire,’ said Kevin, ‘I have come from the East. I am seeing a monster, a terrible beast!’”
As we listened, thoughts of our greatest fears entered our minds. Monsters in all forms came…soon we would leave home, we would be independent, and somehow the thought of it all scared us. We continued to watch Mr. Weaver…we made the connection instantly. He was reading a book about a knight who had to fight a monster. Just like the character in the book, Mr. Weaver was fighting a monster in real life—cancer. The reading continued, “’the monster did come, but small Kevin stood fast. He raised his sword as the creature stormed past.’”
We sat thinking of monsters that stormed into our lives. Flashbacks quickly flooded our memories…Mrs. Horner’s death, fires, car accidents, loss, cancer within our community, suicides…we continued to think of the monsters that entered our lives abruptly, and we realized that liked Sir Kevin, we need to raise our swords and be strong. Mr. Weaver paused as he turned the page and said, “Woah, this is a long children’s book…” Everyone in the classroom laughed at the fact that the book was too long and difficult to be considered a children’s book. Mr. Weaver happily continued to read, “’I can’t stab it,’ thought Kevin, ‘it’s as hard as a kettle. It won’t listen to reason; its brains are all metal. So I’ll just have to chase it through country and town. Sooner or later it has to go down.’”
Sometimes things in our life are unpredictable, they don’t just go away. Instead, we have to be persistent and help ourselves through whatever we’re fighting. Fighting a monster means never giving up until you win the battle. The monsters in our life do not care if we suffer or hurt. Cancer does not have emotion, it is not alive, and it doesn’t have a soul like we do. The things we consider monsters don’t listen to reason…things like death and fire do not understand that they cause pain. Those monsters have no knowledge of the damage they cause, so it is up to us to get rid of them. Mr. Weaver continued to read, “’He chased it up mountains and then chased it down…he chased it at last…and then the monster went down…Long live Sir Kevin! The Townsfolk cried, the bravest knight in the countryside! And there stood Kevin with eyes all bright. He had dreamed his dream. He’d been ready to fight. He had proved himself worthy of being a knight!’”
Slowly Mr. Weaver closed the book, and as expected he questioned what we thought of it. The room was silent, and everyone knew exactly what it meant. Mr. Weaver slowly stood up. He took out a letter from his sister. He began to read parts of the letter that informed us about the origins of the book. It had been bought by his sister at a garage sale due to a promise that they had kept to each other. We all continued to listen as Mr. Weaver read his sister’s letter. After reading it, he smiled and told us that he was happy that he could share something personal with us.
Mr. Weaver left the room, and yet there was still silence. We all looked at each other with a certain understanding about living life to its fullest and fighting any challenge that threatens our existence. We sat back at our desks watching the clock. Somehow we felt that we were waiting…waiting for hope, waiting for life, waiting for Kevin to kill the monster. We still are waiting.
Mr. Weaver, I do not know if you will ever read this, but we will wait with you…we will fight with you…and together we will watch the monster fall down. As seniors we will graduate knowing that you defeated the monster…We will thank you for being strong. We will thank you for believing in us…and for showing us that we can fight anything in life. In the future we’re going to fight endless battles with many monsters, but for now let’s fight this monster called cancer. Mr. Weaver, you are from this day forward Sir Kevin of Honey Grove, and you will win this battle…
by, Maricela Coronado