One moment she was talking about getting her casts off and going swimming and the next went like this:

“One day I was in my room and I just started thinking about the world and I cried,” she said about as nonchalantly as could be. “I was like ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

She waved her casts in the air and was laughing and then she started dancing around the fire.

She offered no details about the random thought and I didn’t press her.

This is what we do some nights. We have a campfire and we listen to music and talk.

My daughter Jenna is 10 and it’s on those nights around the fire that she opens up to me about as much as a 10-year-old, going on 18, can.

She tells me about boys she likes and then stares at me, waiting for my dad reaction.

She tells me about songs she likes that have “swear words” and how much she HATES my music.

This night went the same except for that small comment.

(A sidenote: Yes, Jenna has casts on both arms. She fell while skateboarding and broke bones in her wrist and hand, the fifth time she has broken or cracked bones of some sort or the other.)

It appeared as if Jenna completely forgot about her comment just as quickly as I yelled at her to turn off the insipid hip-hop song she was playing.

I didn’t forget. I thought about it later that night after she went to bed.

“One day I was in my room and I just started thinking about the world and I cried.”

It was a punch to the gut. A shovel smack in the face.

I started thinking about some of the other conversations we had in recent weeks and months.

One day we were driving through Byron and she blurted.

“Is this the redneck section of Elba we always go through?” she asked.

I knew right away what she meant.

“No, it’s Byron but yes, this is where all the Trump signs are,” I told her.

She despises Trump.

“They always have big bellies and wear dirty jeans and don’t wear a shirt and they have a red hat on,” she explained.

Well, not always, I told her, reminding her that I’m a bit of redneck myself.

She asked me if I want Biden for president.

“No,” I said.

“YOU WANT TRUMP?” she yelled.

“No. I want complete change. Let the young people take over.”

This was going a bit over her head, I think, so our conversation about that ended.

I do think it’s time for a complete revolution but that’s a topic for another time.

“One day I was in my room and I just started thinking about the world and I cried.”

Did I think about the world when I was 10?

I was born in 1964. Vietnam permeated my childhood.

Yet, I don’t remember ever thinking about it, at least not when I was 10.

I knew it was there, My uncle was wounded in Vietnam. I knew that.

Well, no, I didn’t. They told me he was bit by a scorpion.

Children did not have cell phones and laptops and social media.

We didn’t spent hours a day watching a five-inch screen and see all the madness that was going on.

Lyndon Johnson? Richard Nixon?

Who cares. All I cared about was Johnny Bench and Pete Rose and watching wrestling on a Saturday morning and running around the neighborhood with my friends.

Our parents didn’t talk politics in front of us and even if they did, we didn’t listen.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to see the hate and division in our country and even then, I didn’t care that much.

I don’t think adults even knew the extent of division back then, except what they saw on the 22-minute evening news or read in the morning paper.

Our country has simmered for so long and it has been only in recent years that it has bubbled over the top and seeped into our collective consciousness.

Hate is everywhere. Violence is everywhere. Oppression is everywhere. Ignorance is everywhere.

It was 1 a.m. and the embers on the fire were smoldering.

“One day I was in my room and I just started thinking about the world and I cried.”

Yeah. I know exactly how you feel, Jenna.

Scott DeSmit is a general assignment reporter for The Daily News. He can be reached at

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