Scott Newport

Hunting

Scott Newport ~

“Seriously?” began Amy’s text, which popped up on my iPhone one blustery November morning.

“How do you know?” she went on. “Why don’t I feel him with me?”

I had no idea how to answer.

Amy and I had met on Facebook a few months earlier, introduced by a mutual friend. Amy had recently lost her teenage son, AJ, to heart disease. “She needs to talk with someone who knows,” my friend had said–meaning “someone who knows what it is to lose a child to illness.”

My own son Evan died nine years ago, at age seven, the day after Thanksgiving. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of volunteer time mentoring parents and families of children with life-threatening illness.

Going Through the Grits

Scott Newport

It was another day at a renovation project on the fourth floor of an office building. Glancing at my iPhone, I noticed that my buddy Dave had called a couple of times. Now, coming down a stepladder for what seemed like the hundredth time, I saw his name pop up again. This time I set down my hammer and found a quiet place.

“Hey Scott, ol’ buddy, I got a request,” Dave said. “Last week at hunting camp, a friend of mine was impressed with my restored knife. As we were sitting around the campfire, I told him that you’re kind of a blacksmith, and that you refurbish knives. I wonder if you could fix up his, too. He lent it to me, and I want to return it to him as a Christmas present.”

After work, I picked up the knife from Dave and headed home. There I walked into my workshop, a few yards from my house, set the knife on my bench, then went up to the house.

fence 2

Straight Enough

Kevin Olney / Scott Newport

About the contributor: 

Scott Newport, a volunteer with the Patient and Family Centered Care advisory council of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, in Ann Arbor, serves both in his state and nationally as an advocate for families with sick children. “My biggest passion is family mentoring, and I have a special interest in supporting dads. I always know I’ve made a connection when I get an email that reads, ‘Hey Scott, are you going to be up at the hospital this weekend?’ I believe that until we make a personal connection with a family, it’s almost impossible to have those important and often difficult discussions. Sometimes, though, it’s just talking about building fences.”

About the artwork:

“One Sunday last year I sat in a hospital room with a young guy named Kevin Olney as he struggled to deal with his daughter’s serious illness. A cowboy, he had traveled from out west to bring his daughter to …

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