I love my granddaughter.
When I wrote about her in the March issue of Desert Exposure, judging by the response I received, I'm not alone. My father loves her too, but he's also afraid of her. When she's running around like a miniature version of the Tasmanian Devil from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, he hangs onto whatever he can for dear life.
She's four now, but when she turned three we began looking into putting her in pre-school. My granddaughter's pretty special, so we wanted to find her someplace equally as special. Luckily, we found Radford, a private school that's been in business for over a hundred years. Like my ex-wife, it doesn't look a day over 95. She loves it there, and now doesn't mind going to bed early, which was not always the case.
Once, I was trying to put her to bed, but she had other ideas, so I told her, "If you don't fall asleep. I'm going to get mad."
"And you'll yell at me?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"No," I laughed, "I won't yell at you."
"You'll just say it loud?"
I laughed again.
"Maybe a little loud," I said, and kissed her goodnight.
The next day, we were getting rid of some of my beloved mother's things. It was mostly junk. The rest was trash. I offered my buddy Maloney the well-worn rocking chair my father had bought her a lifetime ago.
"I don't want your garbage," Maloney told me.
"Your mother-in-law might like it," I suggested.
And she did.
"She thought it was a gift from your father," Maloney kidded me later.
One man's trash is a frisky old lady's treasure.
But mainly, my granddaughter and I went through a plastic trash bag containing an avalanche of religious cards. Cards from various religious charities asking for money and giving cheap jewelry in return. My mother was an easy mark, you could say. Actually, she just had a soft heart for the tired, the poor, the ailing masses yearning to be healed.
My granddaughter kept some of it. She was fascinated by the cheap jewelry, the colorful pictures. A Virgin Mary here. A resurrected Jesus there. Jesus would have loved my granddaughter. When He said, "Let the little children come to Me," my granddaughter would have been the first to run into His arms.
As we sorted through it, she'd go, "This was grandma's and now it's mine?"
"Yes," I'd tell her. "That was grandma's and now it's yours."
She couldn't believe her good fortune.
Mostly it was colorful rosary beads, one smelling of roses. There were also keychains, and a bracelet made up of little wooden squares with pictures of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and various saints that I bought for my mother once when I was downtown.
One thing we unearthed that I remembered from my childhood, was a picture of Jesus with His eyes closed. If you held it over a light and then went into a dark room, the picture would glow and Jesus' eyes would open. My grandparents had a similar picture of Jesus in their bedroom. If you walked from one side of their room to the other, His eyes would follow you. They had thirteen children. Not all of them lived. I can't imagine their heartbreak, but it was a different time. Still, how they had so many kids with that creepy picture of Jesus hanging over their bed, who knows?
My granddaughter was fascinated by that glowing picture. She kept holding it over a light, then we'd go into a closet and watch the miracle happen.
"That's Jesus," I explained to her, and, in the darkness, I heard my granddaughter blow Him a kiss. Jesus became her friend. Later, she asked me if she could have an Andes chocolate mint, her favorite.
"Does Jesus want you to have one?" I asked, playfully.
"Yes, He does," she said.
Later, she said, "Jesus wants me to have another one."
So I gave her another one.
"Be sure you share with Jesus," I told her, and she did.
She broke the candy in half. One piece was smaller than the other.
"Jesus wants the smaller one," she told me.
This past Easter, I gave her a chocolate bunny. If she's going to have candy, I prefer chocolate because it at least has SOME nutritional value. Ice cream, too.
"Do you want some, daddy?" she asked me.
She calls me "daddy" because she hears my daughters call me that. I, however, always refer to myself as "grandpa".
"Yes, thank you," I told her, then added, "What about Jesus? Are you going to share with Him, too?"
She thought about that, and then, with more insight than I, said, "He hasn't come down yet, so I can't." Reconsidering her words, she assured me, "When He comes down, I'll share with Him."
Kids are innocent…
...but they're also very funny.
Like I've said, my granddaughter's quite the handful, but she's always fun, so I like to spend as much time with her as I can.
As I was writing this column she passed some gas.
"What was THAT?" I teased.
"That was my tummy," she answered. "It said it wants ice cream."