Something odd happened the other day. It probably doesn’t seem odd to most people, but for me what happened was never supposed to happen and when it did I was shocked and delighted at the same time. What happened was I took my grandson to the store. Just me and him. No Gigi, no Mom or Dad, no chaperone, no nanny; it was just Jake and me. How had it come to this?
The back story is that when my grandchildren were born, and this to two different sets of parents, there were whispers, not so subtle that I didn’t hear them, that Pops, that’s me, would never be allowed to be with the grand kids alone. At first I thought they were kidding, but over time I realized that they were dead serious. This “no Pops allowed” movement was led by no other than my sweet wife, Julie. After all, she knows me better than anyone and I believe the prohibition stems from a deep fear in Julie, based on solid historical data, of just what might happen if either of the grandchildren were to ever be left alone with me. You see, I have issues.
Some would call me careless. But that’s only from those who know me. I can think of a few other words that describe me. Here are some: irresponsible, risky, unfocused, scatterbrained, dangerous, reckless, unsafe, negligent. The list could go on, but I think an accurate picture has been painted. Whereas others see me as all of the above, I see myself as carefree and fun. A little mischievous admittedly, but where’s the fun in life if you take out all the risk? And besides, I’m actually more dangerous to myself than I am to others. But collateral damage is a strong possibility. Take the other day.
My son Christopher, Jake, Julie and I went to a local hamburger joint for dinner. As we were leaving the restaurant, Julie took Jake and was busy buckling him into the booster in the back seat, while Christopher and I took our seats up front. While we were loading up, the conversation was centered around how good the food had been at the restaurant and how we were sure to return and try it again. Meanwhile I started the car. And then I began pulling out into the road. Screams from the back of the car caused me to slam on the brakes. It seems I was pulling out with Julie still buckling Jake into his booster seat. I had nearly run over my wife. [She doesn’t have life insurance so don’t think it was on purpose.] I must have had something on my mind that caused me to overlook the small detail of Julie not being in the car as I pulled away. Oops.
Well, it’s been over five years since Jake was born and four for Cara. And the prohibition was in place and diligently enforced; until one day it wasn’t. It happened on a Friday night. Julie and I were watching Jake for a couple of days and we planned on going fishing on Saturday. We had just returned from the store after buying a few fishing supplies. Loading up his tackle box upon our return I discovered Jake was out of hooks. When I informed Julie she said, “You two can run back to Wal-Mart for the hooks.” I did a double take. I waited for a moment to see if she was going to start laughing and tell me that the joke was on me, but she didn’t laugh. Before she had the time to reconsider her foolish decision, I told Jake to put his shoes on and climb up into the back of the car. We were heading to Wal-Mart.
As we left the neighborhood, Jake in his booster and me diligently concentrating on the road in front of me, I said, “Jake, it’s just you and me. Jake and Pops heading to Wal-Mart.” I was giddy and began to laugh. It was as if I had pulled something over on someone. The next thing I heard came from the back seat.
Jake said, “Boys club.”
I started cracking up and said, “Yeah Jake, boys night out. Just you and me kid.” The grin didn’t leave my face, at least until we got back home.
The good news is we returned home with the best hooks available, Eagle Claw, and the next day we caught a boat load of fish.
The even better news? I returned Jake to his Gigi safe and sound and didn’t run anyone over in the process.
So, when do I get Cara?