Things Have Come To Me

June 19th, 2020

Mac First Birthday

(published in The Daily Memphian)

There are few benefits to growing old, aside of course from the obvious benefit of growing old itself. However, I have discovered one fairly recently.

If Granddan sits in a chair, things come to Granddan.

In a chair in my son’s house, without moving at all, a gin and tonic comes to Granddan. Wheaten terriers come in and cover like hairy thunderstorms, just as loud and sudden and wet, and then back out again. Things and sounds come bouncing, flying, and falling from every direction.

A royal blue Gund elephant comes, too, and other cuddly friends – Goota Getta Gund. Things done and being done come – things like drawings and letters, things formed from Legos and Silly Putty, things made from imagination from what’s at hand, things to be shared.

Grandchildren come to Granddan, and in the midst of the tickling and giggling, in a smile accented by a bit of pizza in the corner, in the twinkle of an eye underlined by a bruise earned on the trampoline, in the shake of hair getting really long – long enough that the pink experiment has just about disappeared – something else comes to Granddan.

It’s their turn. They will make of the world what they will.

If you and I can agree on nothing else, if events over the past few weeks have taught us anything, as even causal observation of the last four years will confirm, we’re currently making a mess of this country and contributing mightily to the mess the world is making of itself.

So very tired of so many things, I could not be more tired of hearing, both from the left and the right, “I worry about what kind of world we’re leaving our grandchildren.”

You know exactly what you’re leaving them. You made it. You’ve not only stopped caring about each other, you’ve stopped talking to each other. You’ve become so obsessed about avoiding people who don’t think or look like you, the world is starting to think and look like you.

So stop worrying. Our grandchildren could not possibly do anything but improve on that.

Mac Conaway, the youngest visitor to my chair, just turned one.

I don’t worry when I look at that face, I rejoice.

Almost half of his life has been in some sort of quarantine, in the midst of a modern plaque. We’ve been obsessed with lack of freedom and/or toilet paper, with loss of income and/or bowling and/or pedicures and/or streaming bandwidth, with spread of disease and/or conspiracy theory, with isolation and/or empty Cheetos bags and/or empty days.

And we’ve been watching, with many eyes truly wide open for the first time, what a white knee on a black neck has been truly strangling for so long. And we’ve been seeing, truly focused this time, the beginings of real change sown at the grassroots level.

Meanwhile, Mac has had his brother and sister at home all the time, and Mom and Dad, and the dogs, and lately, grandparents who bring him stuff. And cousins. And there’s this whole walking thing that’s pretty cool. And a whole world outside full of discovery.

A wonderful world of possibility.

I don’t worry when I look at that face, I hope.

I’m a Memphian, and from where I sit, things are looking up.

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