Do you have pleasant memories of your grandparents?
I do. Oh, sure, I heard rumors—more like legendary stories, actually—of the temper of one of my grandparents, but I choose to remember the good times. Doesn’t do anyone any good to dwell on the negative anyway.
Grandma Weddle always loved when her grandkids would spend the night. When we woke up, no matter how many of us there were, she’d make us whatever we wanted for breakfast.
“I want cereal,” one would say.
“I want eggs and bacon,” another would chime in.
“Can I have some French toast?” I’d ask.
“Yes, that’s fine. Get dressed and wash up, it’ll be ready soon.”
Man, I don’t know if I have the patience to fix every grandchild a different meal, but that’s what she did.
My Grandma Stroud was a push-over. I remember a few times when her oldest son, Aaron, who was only a couple years my senior (and more like a cousin than an uncle), would get a new toy which I was envious of.
Yes I’m big enough to admit I oft-times suffered from toy envy. Who didn’t?
I’d sorta wander into the living room, sit down beside grandma, and nonchalantly say, “Wow, I wish I had one’a them…”
Soon we’d all be loaded up in her little Ford Pinto, on our way to the store.
Memories such as these make me happy, and spur me on as a grandpa myself. Or, perhaps I should refer to myself like my grandson does: “Poppy.” That doesn’t sound quite as old.
It’s my choice whether I taint the memory of those long-since-passed by sharing the occasional grim tale (few though they may be), or remember the fun times, so I choose to dwell on those.
Then again, there was the time I told a lie so impressive Grandma Weddle called the cops.
My cousin, Charlie, and I were playing with Grandpa’s garden hoe, and I accidentally broke it. Instead of telling the truth, however, I came up with an elaborate tale about a gang of hoodlums cutting through their backyard, pushing us around, breaking the garden hoe and then moving on.
The fact that there were no “gangs” in Lebanon, Missouri made no never-mind to me.
“I’m calling the police,” Grandma announced. “Nobody’s going to push my grandchildren around.”
So I did the right thing and told the cops the truth, right? No way, man, I was in too deep! When they showed up, my 10-year-old brain tried to figure out the physical characteristics of a gang member, since I’d never seen one before.
“What’d they look like, son?” the officer asked.
“Uh,” I stammered, “well, they all had on matching, blue jean jackets, with patches all over their pants.”
No, that wasn’t enough, he’d never buy it.
Think, think, think!
“And they had lipstick all over their faces,” I added.
The second it came out of my mouth I wanted to swallow a hand grenade.
Yeah, sure, all the tough, Southern Missouri gangs smeared lipstick on their faces in the 70s, didn’t you know that?
The cop almost laughed.
“Lipstick?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said nervously. My face suddenly felt like it was on fire, and I’m sure I turned fifty shades of red.
“They broke my grandpa’s hoe.”
“Ok,” he said, closing his little notebook. “I understand.” He bent down and looked me in the eye, finally understanding I’d lied to cover up what I’d done.
“Maybe you and your grandpa should have a little talk when he gets home,” he stated, and then left.
Charlie was quite a bit younger, and apparently wasn’t as accustomed to lying as I was. So nervous he was, like a kid who was forced to hold his pee for three weeks.
Finally, he cracked under the pressure.
“Robert broke the hoe!” he nearly shouted a couple hours later, and his whole body loosened up, feeling a release of tension, like he’d just passed a kidney stone.
Even when he found out the truth, though, Grandpa Weddle didn’t get mad at me. He sat me down, read me a couple of Bible verses about lying, and then said, “Next time, just tell me the truth, ok?”
I never lied to him again after that.
Sure, my grandparents were fully human, and in so being, prone to mistakes, same as I am with my grandson, Joshy.
That’s him, with the Spiderman costume and the bluetooth headphones.
My point is they did their best, just like I try and do. I want to make that boy proud, as well as his soon-to-be-born little sister.
Yeah, it’s good being a Poppy.
Whether or not you have pleasant memories of your parents and grandparents, the past is only repeated if you allow it to be so, whether good or bad.
That whole “blame it on my father” thing only goes so far, ya know?
Go forth, blazing your own trail.
“Grandchildren are the pride and joy of old age, and children take great pride in their parents (Proverbs 17:6a).”
“Be careful. Don’t think these little children are not important. I tell you that these children have angels in heaven. And those angels are always with my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:10).”