Thursday, June 25, 2009


My spouse and personal advisor invented a new word recently.
“Are you writing squirbs this week?” she asked.
I’m not sure, but I think a squirb is a combination of a squib and a blurb. Maybe not, but I think I know what she means. So here they are:
It’s early Wednesday morning as I write this. I usually wrap my column up on Tuesdays, but I’m a day behind schedule, mainly because of the anticipated arrival of our younger son and our youngest grandson, who flew in last night for a brief visit. You know, of course, that all 16-month-old boys are highly observant, and critical, even, when it comes to housekeeping , so we’ve been hard at it getting things up to the standards demanded by young John Patrick Sloan.
It was a long day of travel for them, so things are quiet for now. It’s just me and the cat, with the grandmother in residence upstairs restlessly awaiting the awakening of the little prince. We used to heartily subscribe to the “let sleeping babies lie” rule. But when it comes to grandchildren who live a thousand miles away, we just can’t wait to play.
I’m told my column on my beloved Isuzu Trooper was a little too attention-getting, as some people now honk, point and wait for disaster when they see it on the road. My co-pilot has been forced to drive the relic as her vehicle--our “good” car--has been inexplicably shop-bound for over three weeks in a scenario that seems more akin to a long-term hostage situation than auto repair. We cleaned the car out in preparation for yesterday’s trip to the airport, leading one of us to discover that the other had been storing a bit of musical equipment in the rear of the vehicle. It’s my contention that it’s easier to keep a small p.a., a couple of microphones and some stands in the car, ready for my next playing date. She was less impressed, noting that the Beatles probably hauled around less gear enroute to their 1965 show at Shea Stadium. In any case, the car is all emptied out, and clean, too. I just hope it wasn’t the dirt that was holding it together.
More on 34 finally saw me out searching for bargains and narrowly avoiding fender-benders, along with a whole host of other folks. I generally avoid the garage-sale circuit, but we were on a mission. Suddenly baby gear has become a hot item, as us baby boomers become grandmas and grandpas and find ourselves needing to rediscover the mass of toys, clothes, games and general equipment that once made parenthood a lot like being the road manager for the aforementioned 1965 Beatles’ tour.
Wow, I guess summer’s finally, really here. I knew if we complained about the cool spring, we’d pay for it, and now we are, with hot, sultry weather that is, hopefully, good for corn, at least. My personal bit of weather-related foolishness this week came about as we decided it was a good time to wash, scrub and re-stain our deck. If you drive by and notice it seems a little lighter in color than in previous years, blame me. I was sweating so hard, I think I was diluting the stain.
Post-Father’s Day thoughts:
As much as I loved being a father, I think being a grandfather has some real benefits as well. My own dad was pushing 50 when I was born, which made him closer to my friends’ grandparents in age. I remember asking him, later in life, what it was like having a new baby in the family at an age when many men would be ready to be done with a home dominated by diaper changes and late-night feedings.
“I felt like I was getting one more chance,” he said.
I didn’t really know what he meant at the time, but now, I think I do.
One more chance to be patient. One more chance to be wise. Another chance to understand any situation. And another to love without reservation.
My dad had the advantage of age and experience going into my childhood, and he was, indeed, a patient, wise, understanding, loving dad. Although he died 30 years ago this month, I continue to think about that patience and wisdom. I think about that “one more chance,” and wonder, if I, too, can do a better job of exhibiting those loving traits as I get my own second chance as a grandfather.
I hope so.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad, and all the dads and grandpas I know.

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