Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In honor of grandparents

September 5, 2012

Sunday, Sept. 9, is a very special day for many. I know what you’re thinking -- it is special because the Chiefs open the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL schedule is off and running. While I always enjoy the Chiefs, that’s not the special day I’m talking about. The second Sunday in September is Grandparents’ Day!

I suspect that there are many folk who have never heard of Grandparents’ Day, but it has been a holiday since it was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. It calls attention to the vital role played by grandparents and senior citizens in modern society. I have said this before, but the two best reasons for getting older are retirement and being a grandfather. I really don’t believe that there is anything more fun than watching grandchildren grow and mature. In my case, my two oldest grandsons are college graduates – one is an attorney and the other a claims adjuster. I have a granddaughter who is a junior at Oklahoma State and one who is a high school junior. The three youngest boys are 17, 15 and 11 and all three play a variety of sports.

In fact, Thursdays are Free State freshman football and Fridays are for varsity. Later this month we’ll be taking a trip to Texas to see our youngest granddaughter perform as a cheerleader and we’ll visit Stillwater to see our oldest granddaughter. I truly enjoy being a grandparent and taking part in their many activities. I’m such a fan that I’ve switched from my beloved black and orange to the forest green of Free State.

I’ve had the pleasure of going to dozens of baseball games with my grandsons and I even had the pleasure of being a Kerry Roberts coach. In short, after my wife and daughters, the seven are the biggest joys of my life.

It seems to me that grandparents have changed since I was young. In those days, it seemed to me that grandmothers all wore house dresses, aprons and Mother Hubbard shoes. Today’s grandmothers are much different, they don’t look old at all. Yes, I know that hair and dress styles as well as better health care have changed a lot. Grandfathers are different, too. Today’s grandfather might be playing touch football or working on a project. Certainly, they aren’t sitting in rocking chairs and whittling. The aging process has changed and senior citizens are much more vital and active today.

I remember my grandmothers and they always seemed old. Grandmother Smith was a very tall woman who loved to read to me and even though she died when I was 10, I have many pleasant memories. Grandmother Thompson was a very small woman and she always seemed to be rushing around to make sure everything was in place for family events. They did have one thing in common – I remember them both yelling “don’t slam the door.”

I only know Grandfather Smith from the many stories, and yes probably legends, of his adventures as a law enforcement officer. Grandfather Thompson was an American Baptist minister. He always wore a suit and tie and I thought that going up a flight of stairs to his study was like visiting God. He was a very proper English-Scotsman, but I liked that he always had time to talk with me.

Actually Grandparents’ Day is set for the first Sunday following Labor Day. Yes, I’ve read the criticism that it was created as a way to sell greeting cards, but I disagree. I think that it is important in our society to remember the contributions of older generations and to learn from their experiences.

Most credit Marian L. McQuade with being the moving force behind the adoption of legislation creating Grandparents’ Day. The West Virginia resident worked tirelessly for a number of years to promote the idea and got support from her U. S. Senators. Her efforts were culminated with the law signed by President Carter. Subsequent presidents have supported the idea.

Here is a great trivia question for you. Can you name the official flower of Grandparents’ Day? It is the Forget-Me-Not, which is fitting since the whole idea of the day is to remember the older generation.

Certainly, I find great joy in being a grandparent and watching the next generation grow and succeed. I know there are some older folks who spend their time griping about the youth of today and remembering the “good old days,” You won’t find me doing that, I think modern young people are more motivated than my generation. They have to be because the world is much more challenging. I know they are smarter and in most cases better educated. I’m sure that they will make the world a better place. I believe that the “good old days” are ahead of us.

I enjoy being a grandfather and, yes, I’ hope to be around long enough to be a great grandfather.

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