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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One of the things about being a coot is that the aging process has side affects. One of the most pleasant, and one of the most challenging is grandchildren. When they first arrive they are such a blessing. I know that I am not the first to have ever said "If I had known how much fun, and how much easier grandchildren are, I would have started with them." But I said it and I, well sort of, meant it.

I have great-grandchildren now. One them came to see me a month or so ago. I am embarrassed to say that I hadn't seen the little five year old at all, till my daughter showed up with him in tow. It was such fun getting acquainted, and his swift little mind just took in everything. When he saw the pool in the back yard, he just HAD to get his swimming suit and jump in. To those who are unfamiliar with the fact, even in Georgia, jumping into an unheated backyard pool is not a thing to do in February, but he was determined so, dip net in my hand, I let him go. He went down the first two steps, stopped a moment, then jumped out with the comment "I think I have to take a break now". We assumed that this was the conclusion, but he dried himself off moved back to the step and down he went till he touched the bottom of the pool in the shallow end. He danced a moment then called it a day with a loud "That's enough."

We had planned for his coming and had set aside a cowboy suit (chaps and vest) that had been made by my wife's mother some forty years ago. He put them on, and wandered through the house posing at mirrors, and was so pleased that we decided to finish the outfit off by taking him to Wally World for a cap-gun (shades of political incorrectness) and a cowboy hat. We had no trouble with the cap- gun, and lucked upon the last cowboy hat in stock, in red no less.

After we got home is was no time before he learned that, after the greeting "Howdy cowboy," his reply, after tipping hat back with his thumb or the gun barrel, which ever was handiest, was "Howdy Ma'am"

We were tickled to find that after his return home, for the first several nights he slept with his cowboy suit and boots on (Hat and gun above the pillow. When I started this post, his mother, my granddaughter was deathiy ill in the ICU of the local hospital with some of the results of her diabetes and her mother (my daughter) was sobbing to me over the phone. She is somewhat better now and is home taking care of the boy. Her sister, (the other granddaughter in this case) is also ill. Though she is under twenty, she has already had her gall bladder removed and they are testing her for everything. At first they thought she had leukemia, then some rare unidentified blood cancer, and now they are testing for some kind of protein in the blood (not in the cells) which I don't understand at all. She has two little ones who are healthy and cute but for my Florida granddaughters themselves it never seems to rain but it pours.

We are now in the State of Washington where we came to see three of the other grand kids performing in the musical Annie, (there are four, but one was not acting in the play) and where I came to make a little money with one of my sideline businesses.

We saw two performances. The first was a little shaky, the second one was very exciting. I was very proud of my grandchildren and had a good time. Like every grandfather, I think that my grandchildren are special. The four who live out here are so darned active in so many things that there isn't much time to rest and relax. The oldest is a high school freshman who has performed major roles in four or five musicals, is on his school robotics teams (they build robots for special purposes in a nationwide competition), is getting straight A's in school has been on the track and wrestling teams at his school, and is training to compete in ballroom dancing competitions. He also breathes in and out on a regular schedule and is generally a nice kid.

His younger brother is also talented, sings and acts in musicals (my influence as theatre teacher is a little pervasive in the family), is a wrestler, plays the trumpet, and has a somewhat serious self image problem.

The two little sisters eight and six years old who were in Annie are something else. The eight year old, besides acting and singing and dancing is a poet and a mini-intellectual who, when we arrived was curled up on the sofa reading The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth,but in the middle, she shifted to one about Mary, Queen of Scots. When I asked her why, she said something on the order of "I would expect women to have more sense."

She wrote her grandfather and grandmother each a poem for Easter,

To Grandmother:

I give you a cup

I give you a flower

As long as you live,

I will be with you every minute, every hour.

To Grandpa,

Nest the eggs,

Make some more

As long as you love me

I'll love you more.

Hey they don't scan completely and it aint Shakespeare, but she's eight years old, and it still made an old coot weep a little. I wish I could find the one she wrote for school. It was impressive. A month or so ago, she came home and told her parents that she had a project she had to do on Owls. She worked almost every night for two weeks gathering material on owls, with charts of diet, living schedule, how the eyes worked, and she wrote a paper aas well as made a poster with a picture of an owl in a cartoon surrounding. On the poster she stated that the main foods of the owl were snakesickles and mousekebobs.

She took the project to school and turned it in to her teacher, who hung the poster in the school library. The kicker came when the teacher called to tell my daughter in law that she had never been given the assignment. She had begun the project because she didn't think people paid enough attention to owls, so she thought she would do something to make them pay attention

Her six year old sister is nothing like her. She is as smart as her older sister but the most total individual. She will be a blonde cheerleader (no matter what color her hair is at the time,) but she is not to be underestimated. She is a total independent who has to be checked each day before she goes to school because she thinks it is silly that people think that they must wear socks the same color and matching shoes. (She has been known to wear an oxford on one foot and a boot on the other, sometimes, deliberately on the wrong feet. She reads fashion magazines (not all the way through) and may, if in the mood may go to school wearing a ballet skirt and tights or a long dress that was a costume for her role as a London beggar in Annie, and she is stubborn enough that if she doesn't wear what she likes she may have to be carried manually to school. On the other hand, she never forgets ANYTHING whether academic or personal.

I still sometimes think that there ought to be a way to skip the children and start with the grandchildren. (The best thing about them is that a grandparent may spoil them terribly and then send them home for the parents to cope with them.)

5 Comments:

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Norma said...

What delightful stories. I love the one about the cowboy outfit and wearing the hat to bed. What lucky folks you are. We have no grandchildren.

 
At 10:55 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

BTW the url on your "homepage" when you post comments is broken. That makes it hard for people to click back to your blog.

I still sometimes think that there ought to be a way to skip the children and start with the grandchildren.

That's exactly what I was thinking as soon as I started reading this post. Unfortunately I was stuck with being a single father but will probably never have grandkids as my son's "mistress" of ten years is against having kids.

Yep, she's a typical European socialist - kids are a burden that prevent one from travelling and fancy vacations etc.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

I'm for skipping the kids too, Richard! LOL!

What a wonderful post. I love the part about your grandson and the cowboy suit. I can't believe you actually found a cowboy hat for a child at Wal Mart! Most boys don't play "cowboy" anymore. He's a lucky little boy to have you and your wife for his grandparents. :)

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Off topic Richard: You're not old! Watch the video. LOL! It gets more interesting, I promise. I almost turned it off during that tour too, but I'm glad I didn't. :)

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

How awesome! I can't wait to have more children around the house. They all sound positively enchanting!!!

 

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