Should old acquaintance be forgot
Published 11:32 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Perhaps it is because both my grandfathers were dead long before I was born, or ever a glimmer in anyone’s eye, but I do feel a slight twinge of envy when I observe that loving bond between Grandpas, Opas, or Papas and their grandchildren.
Having said that, I’m savvy enough to acknowledge that relationships can be tricky things and the rapport between every grandfather and grandchild is not as healthily functional as a ‘Country Time Lemonade’ commercial might lead us to believe. However, there remains in America a soft focused, nostalgic belief that Grandfathers are meant to contentedly take their grandsons fishing, as well as to their first baseball game, in a sort of comforting bubble nestled somewhere between apple pie and Chevrolet.
I buy into that too. I want that to be so. Right up there with Me-maw baking a fresh batch of cat head biscuits on Saturday mornings and knitting garish sweaters for everyone at Christmas that nobody wants to wear, but appreciates the loving effort spent.
And so when Paul and I visited a local restaurant on Saturday and took advantage of their well spaced outdoor seating, my heart warmed as my gaze fell upon what I can only assume was a grandfather (or great grandfather) and young grandson, perhaps six or seven years of age, sharing a pizza. As the lunch progressed it became sadly apparent that it was only the food that was shared because the child never took his eyes away from the rectangle he held in his lap, intent on playing a video game the entire time.
The grandfather sat quietly, staring at the crown of the boy’s head as his dark hair spilled across his forehead, and I noted the elderly gentleman attempt a conversation by asking a couple of questions that if heard, received no response. Acknowledging defeat, he made no further attempt at speaking and returned his attention to his plate.
For all I know this child wasn’t even related to the man. Possibly the child wasn’t capable of speech. Or perhaps they indeed were grandparent and grandchild but see each other so frequently that having a meal out is a regular occurrence and not a special treat. Even so I had to smother every instinct to rise and take the phone from the child’s hand and say, “Pay attention! Time spent with your grandpa is precious and never enough. He won’t always be here.”
Since you’ve not read of my arrest in the paper for harassing a child you can rest assured, I remained in my seat and kept my mouth closed. The gentleman paid the check and twice repeated “We’re going now,” before the child slowly slid from his chair and followed him out, eyes fixed on the screen before him the entire time.
I’m not going to cast aspersions on the child’s parents regarding why a child that age has a phone in the first place. There could be all kinds of factors to which I’m not privy. I just hope, and I hope with my whole heart, that one day when this boy becomes a man and is asked about his grandfather, his reply won’t be, “I don’t know. I didn’t know that much about him.”