In a hotel room in Colorado Springs, visiting my grandparents who were passing through.
Thunder rumbles the building, vibrating glass in the door.
Hail, rain, and snow sweep in sheets across pavement outside.
“What bedtime stories did you tell your kids, granddaddy?” I asked my father’s father.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he ruminated. Settled back and thought for a moment.
“I told them stories about Winnie the Pooh and the boy, Baskin Robbins. Sometimes I would just make it up, I mean, he is a bear; you can do a lot with a little bear.”
He thought a bit more, “or I’d tell them the old ones, like when he got his head stuck in a honey jar.”
Ah yes, Winnie the Pooh and Baskin Robbins; the tales of the silly, willy, nilly old bear and 31 original flavors®.
We laughed at ourselves.
We cried and held hands, processing the evolution of our family, from bedtime teddy bear stories to the adults we have become.
They asked about great-grandchildren and admonished me not to die on the upcoming trek. “We only have 9 grand-kids, we don’t have one to spare!”
Promising to do my best, “and won’t you be proud when I DO complete this hike?” I asked.
“If you are doing this just to make us proud, you don’t have to!” he replied, “we are always proud of each and all of you.”
He recalled being a small boy, riding in-between the seats with his parents before the era of car-seats and seat-belt laws. Looking out the window, up to the skies, an airplane flying overhead.
“You’d be proud if I was piloting that plane, huh?” the tiny boy asked his mother.
Even 70 years later, a tenderness filled this Aggie’s tone as he recalled the moment. “She told me, ‘I’d be just as proud if you were driving this truck.'”
[He became a scientist and member of a team who patented a new kind of plastic for Phillips 66]
We ate fried catfish and chicken steak larger than our faces.
I showed them a few tricks for using a
smartremedial-phone. Took an usie and headed back up into my mountains.