Thursday, July 13, 2006


It is entirely probable that the true harbingers of summer are children. As someone once said, this is the time of year when kids begin to slam all the doors they had left open all winter. Father’s Day having just come and gone, all the memories are rekindled anew. This was their time to celebrate and who cares, if in the process, they managed to attract strange germs that mostly their elders succumbed to or actually caught. Even now children go to the beach in droves and exhibit that old wound-up “springs in the legs” phenomenon as soon as they hit the perimeter of the shore. All the great battles of history may be staged and restaged here, even the one involving a beach-towel covered, fake wooden horse, with weapons of water and sand. Oh, to have some of that energy, and imagery, now.

In memory it seemed to me that kids were never manageable from the start: first they were far too wriggly and smart—they out-wriggled and outsmarted me. Then they outran me, and finally they became much too strong physically. I didn’t have an edge anywhere and looking back it appears that I was the one being trained—a slow learner at that; and it is probably just as well that I was the learner—I discovered that in their own way they were, and are, incredibly wise. As a case in point I was recently visited by my daughter Jenny and her two wonderful little boys, essentially my grandsons, as it were! The two Ts, Trygve and Thorsen, were glad to see the beach again, and me too, I think. Pizza had bee ordered in and after lunch we settled stomachs before a swim with a drawing contest which I may have won—ages 6 and 7 are still too young to win arguments, especially on esthetic grounds. However, though I am a poor loser they both won first prizes to avoid bitterness on all sides. But in this brief encounter I could again see my own kids around this age and was overcome with nostalgia and longing just to hold them again and lavish kisses and spanks. I can remember how beautiful and they were—and are.

For one important thing, they taught me to love. I really know how precious and miraculous they really are; gifts from God in truth and in fact—and my grandchildren are here to prove it.

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