Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grandpa's Role in the Scheme of Things

     Geez, I've got a title.  Sometimes it's papa, sometimes grandpa and for the littlest one it's bumpa  (I kind of like the last one).  Now I have to figure out how to handle the glory.  Maybe I should put myself in the back of the boat and give it some thought while I'm sitting there.  Can't say I've gotten used to the jon boat but that's where I put myself.  This time I was smart enough to carry along some strips of carpeting to avoid a broiled backside.  There's something about metal painted dark green basking in summer sunshine that says you don't need a skillet to fry up some bacon and eggs.  Also says to not do it again.
     Yup, I'm sittin' in the catbird seat with my grandson Jakob on next seat forward.  My job is to help him catch fish but keep my hands off his fishing pole.  Be there but stay out of the way.  Be prudent in my choice of words.  I'm not good at choosing my words.  For decades all I had to do was open my mouth and the flow commenced.  Sometimes it seemed like someone else was doing the talking.  My job was to rush in with the coverup should something off color pop out.  Be cool old man, you're a grandpa now.  Fool them into thinking you're a wise old man.
     It's not easy being sagacious.  Probably not possible.  Freedom of youth a thing of the past.  More likely a loss of freedom from committing acts of stupidity.  Maybe accepting the loss is the wisdom part?
     Got a new perspective today.  My four year old grandson Matthew was sitting on a cushion in the canoe between his dad and I.  A four year old sure isn't a problem in the boat.  He wasn't interested in fishing so no knots to untie.  While his dad fished, Matt and I talked about fish, the names for all the parts of a canoe, the trees along the shore and what he might be doing when he's an old, old man like his grandpa.  All the while Matthew was holding up his end of the conversation and had a smile on his face almost as though he was enjoying being on the water.  If he was hepped up about a need to go faster he never let on.  Maybe he's like his grandpa and likes to hear the chatter of birds and carry on a conversation.  Yup, like a leaf we slid along on the gentlest of breezes.  Of course his dad had to go and mess things up now and then by catching fish.  Just no excuse for that.
     The name grandpa does set me back now and then.  When I consciously hear the name, mull it over for a moment, I find myself thinking, "What the heck happened?" and, "Are they talking to me?" When Lois and I had children I figured the next step was inevitable but not till sometime way in the future.  I always forget I'm stuck in now.  It's always now.  Always was, always will be.  Was now when the kids were born and was just as now when the grandchildren came along.  Probably going to be now when I die.  Through all those nows I was always looking through the same eyes, thinking with the same brain, holding onto most of the same me.  And at some level it once in a while surprises me it's happening.
     I'm usually smart enough to not say these things out loud but not always.  It doesn't hurt to pass on such thoughts to the sprouts.  Of course, if things go right, they'll someday figure it out on their own.  But it wouldn't hurt if they remember their grandpa when they do.
     By the way, the fishing was good that morning.  Overcast, calm and drizzling on and off.  The little lake sits at the bottom of surrounding hillsides.  Mostly it's undisturbed parkland but one end does have a few houses.  Big houses with massive landscaping.
     Allan and I paddled, fished and talked.  Almost like the Canada days.  Well, nothing's like those days but times change.  We caught a half dozen bass, a few sunnies and a decent pike.  Al  fished like the old days.  Kept the spinner flying.  I sat in the back in boat control, fishing enough to get a couple.  Time on the water with shared blood, I'll take that any day.

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