My grandparents were a huge influence and presence in my life. My grandfather passed away when I was 13. He was larger than life. He ran out of gas all the time. I don't think it occurred to him to fill up his little blue Escort's tank...he had better things to do. And hauling my brother and I out of the car and schlepping our way to the nearest gas station was just part of the adventure for that day. I swear my brother never has less than half a tank of gas in his car...he was scarred for life. When we were with my grandpa, there was always an adventure. High school wrestling tournaments, fall days at the apple orchard, maintaining the chipmunk catch-and-release program he had going in his garage, and the list goes on. He taught my brother and I how to ice-skate. He played kick ball in the backyard with us. He was as enthusiastic about our sports and activities as we were. Just days before he passed away, he was in the stands at my junior high track meet, timing my splits in the 400 yard dash so that we could go over them after the meet. We spent many an afternoon at Lake Nokomis swimming and eating the world's best popcorn out of those red and white striped boxes. He liked margarine, not butter. And he ate shredded wheat out of a small wooden bowl for breakfast every day. These are the things I remember about the weekends with my grandparents. These are the things I would talk with my grandmother about during our visits the past several years. We would laugh and she would roll her eyes and say a lot of "Yes, well..." because that's all you really could say.
And when my girls packed up their little red suitcases this past weekend for an overnight at Nana and Papa's (coincidentally, given to them by my grandma several years ago) , I found myself transported and full of nostalgia. I don't have too many photos from our night at Nana's...we were having too much fun and I didn't want to miss a minute.
Boys are found everywhere -- on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.
Alan Marshall Beck