Hell of a Guy
Chance favors the prepared mind - Louis Pasteur

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mom and the Memorial Day Parade


My mother, or what was left of her after dementia ravaged her mind, passed away on May 23, 1997, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  I thought of her many times this past weekend as I surrounded myself with The Nancy’s family and some of my own to view the Memorial Day Parade in The Nancy’s hometown.  The highlight of the weekend for me came in the form of having all six of my grandchildren in the same room at the same time.  I wish my mother could have been there.

Meredith and family came up to the farm on Saturday.  I got to spend time with Vivienne (4) and Henry (5 months).  It is a big deal for me to spend some one-on-one, alone time with each of the kids.  I got to take a short walk with Vivienne ( Miss “Excuse Me?”) and talk about important things like giant meatballs, beautiful flowers that most would refer to as weeds and colorful stones (that are in abundance on the farm, but nonetheless, fascinating to a four-year old).  She told me of her imaginary (assumption on my part) friend, a tiny, very active meatball named Sweetie, who is twenty-four years old.  Henry, on the other hand, is just Henry…his time will come, but it was truly a magnificent thrill to hold him and feel his weight in my arms and have his special baby scent in my nostrils.  (Check out Henry at http://www.metalmeredith.com)  I d.on’t think Meredith and Phil intended to give me a gift this weekend, but the presence of these babies in my house certainly was one and was further evidenced by the joy I had at 6:30 Sunday morning as Vivienne and I put together puzzles as the sun rose over the mountain and brought daylight into our home.

The second part came Sunday at the Peppler’s house in Grafton, West Virginia.  The Nancy’s wonderful sister and her husband had a good portion of The Nancy’s extended family for a pre-Parade dinner.  In addition to having Vivienne and Henry there, stepdaughter Jackie came by with two of her four, and I got to exchange punches with Jared (8) and Jon-Luke (6).  These guys like to sucker punch ole Dave, but they also remember that we have a rule, (more like a Hell-of-a-Guy Law):  You hit me and I will hit you.  Actually, I think they like punching on me just so I will punch them back.  I guarantee a six-year old can pack a wallop with a well placed, unsuspected fist to the…you know!  But the neat part was that I now had four of the six grandkids in one house and got to hug on each of them.  It made my day.

The “piece de resistance” of this menu of “Weekend with Grandchildren” came on Monday as we watched the parade and later at The Nancy’s parent’s home where we had all six of our grandchildren under one roof.  Shortly after the parade ended, and it was totally home-grown and superbly down-home, we all gathered for lunch.  I think I was first at the buffet – I usually am not shy when it comes to being first in line for grub – and found a spot on the settee to enjoy my victuals – or vittles, as we West Virginians are accused of calling them.  As I began to eat I was joined by two very special people in my life: Jessica (12) and my man Justin (10).  They are two of the cutest kids on the planet. 

Jessica and Justin are getting older.  It isn’t easy to get my hugs in with them these days.  Generally it is me as the initiator, but this weekend they came to me.  This thrill – them seeking me out to sit by – was almost more than this old guy can deal with; I was on the verge of tears.

Four of these kids are the children of The Nancy’s daughter, but I claim them as my own, just as I do with The Nancy’s daughter and her husband.  These guys are my family, too.

All of this renders down to a very simplistic observation from my point of view.  I had a spectacular weekend with people I love and children I adore.  I say a lot of dumb stuff about the grandchildren, like loving to wave goodbye and junk like that, but the truth is they are the best and being with them makes my heart beat a thousand times a minute.  All of this, I believe, would have made my mother very proud of the man this boy has become.

And that is all I have to say about that…     

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