The joy of a grandson

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I received one of the greatest surprises of my life this past Friday. My daughter and her family, which includes our almost-nine year old grandson Cam, just showed up at 1209 Loblolly Lane in Bainbridge! They live and work in Syracuse, New York, and it had been almost 2 years since I had seen them.

Cam calls me Grandpa and I enjoyed walking and talking with him and found out lots of things but also saw that boys will be boys if left alone and all of the social engineering cannot stop some of their basic instincts.

Instincts are natural or innate inclinations. I’m not saying that all boys act the same, but Cam would fit the definition of what most people call “boy” pretty well.

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First a word about instincts. I always think of my late, great dog and friend, Little Bit, when I think of instincts. Every now and then,

I would find myself with a large hambone. Until Little Bit’s dedicated doctors told me that bones weren’t good for Little Bit, I made sure that the large hambone found its final resting place in his mouth.

Wouldn’t you think that a dog upon receiving the blessing of a fragrant and juicy hambone would plop himself down and gorge? I did, but I was wrong.

Little Bit would put the bone in his mouth and walk the perimeter of the yard looking for a place to bury it. Weeks or months later, he would revisit the hambone graveyard, dig it up and gnaw on it, dirt and all. That’s instinct.

What about Cam and his instincts? They are classic “boy.”

He was instinctually curious. We were preparing for a family reunion at my boyhood home in Mitchell County and we were barbecuing Boston Butts on Saturday. Cam noticed a hoe. Most of you know what a hoe is, but to a boy who is growing up exclusively in a city setting, a hoe is an interesting implement.

He picked it up and began to chop. “Is this how you farm?”

“Sure,” I said as I showed him a few weeds. “We chop the weeds down.” He did okay for a minute or two. After that, he had learned all he wanted to know about a hoe.

In the distance was a little forest where I had played as a child. The pine trees, the ones that were left, were larger, but basically the acre or two looked the same. I said to Cam, “Let’s walk there and I will tell you of the battles I fought.”

“Battles?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “I used to fight the Indians there.”


“I was a cowboy,” I said.

Cam responded, “I thought you were a farmer and had chores to do all the time.”

“I did have chores, but I also got to play when I was your age,” I continued. “Do you know how to play?”  I asked.

“Yes,” he said as we walked toward the woods. He had the hoe in his hands as I talked about the battles against the Indians and our World War II foes.

He turned the hoe around and pointed the handle at the woods and made the sound of a gun. It was the same sound-like shooting that I had made over 50 years ago. Instinct.

My daughter told me later that he would get in trouble at school for pointing and pretend shooting.

I understand, I guess, but it was just “pretend.” I wish that was the only shooting he would ever know.