Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Out with Grandpa

Visiting with my grandpa can easily be a kick in the pants. My friends like to call him “the General” (because he was a Lieutenant Colonel during WWII under General McArthur). He is an amazing man who loves his family, knows more about plants than anyone I know (or 10 people combined) and has more little sayings than I will ever know!

Today I came over and we went to lunch together. He likes to go to Bean Town because the sandwiches are so good. So we sat there sharing our lunch together- turkey on wheat with diet coke and some lays potato chips. Although he’s 90 years old he is still pretty sharp and when two young girls (about 16 years old) walked in he noticed how tight their pants were…this is what he said...

He leans in to tell me “you know what Gerald (my uncle, his youngest and only son) would say about those girls’ tight pants?”
Knowing what he is capable of saying I hesitantly said, “what, grandpa?”
“If she farted she would blow her shoes off.”

So Good, mmmm, so good.

We then went down to look at the Wisteria vines at the Fire Station. The soft sweet smell of the flowers filled the air. I watched as he cupped a bundle in his hand and smelled them; I wish I had a camera with me.

I love that he still takes joy and pleasure in the sweet aroma of a flower and the savor of lunch with his granddaughter.

I think often about my aging, fragile grandparents and the reality that they will be gone very soon. And my parents and I will only follow in their footsteps if the Lord is generous in our days together. It is very sad to watch them lose ability to care for themselves, remember what day it is, know where they are and sometimes who we are. And every one of them has responded differently to this tragic, scary transition in their life. I wonder how to honor them in their old age—to respect them, their wisdom and experience. Whenever I think of children emerging into adolescence and adulthood I think of aging adults moving into seniority because the transitions are hard, responsibilities and abilities change and you are treated differently by society at large.

Lord, forgive me (and us as “postmodern” society and particularly the Church) for being so self-centered and proud to think that value is found in productivity, prominence and agility. Lord, you seek what is just and pure of heart. Lead me to consider and reach out for these things. Help me to find beauty, peace and joy in the small blessings of life, like lunch with grandpa, a smile, sweet wisteria, a cool breeze and each breath. ~amen

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