One day I sat down on our front lawn and contemplated about this business of growing older. Am I still relevant? I wondered. Does anyone really care about my counsel? And the good Lord sent me David, my eight-year wise grandson. He sat beside me and we carried out the following chitchat.
Itís cool when I talk to my Grandpa. Like right now. He lives on the other side of the street. And he's on my paper route. I have eighteen customers. Sometimes on Collection Day he gives me a great big tip. Two dollars. I call that a really super tip. Today I feel down in the dumps. That's a pretty big thought for me, DavidÖ
I'm eight now, grandpa. But I'll be nine next March. Let me see, that's oh, uh...nine more months. See, I can figure things out.
I'm pretty good in math too. My mother said I should be a banker, like my uncle Larry. But I think that might be boring. Besides I hate wearing a tie. I know my daddy hates wearing a tie.
Maybe that's why he became a Preacher. He wears a white collar instead. He really likes talking to everyone. I mean grownups. Does that make sense, Grandpa? I know 'cause he talks to all the adults who go to his church. He's pretty busy. But I still love him though. And I really think he loves me.
Sometimes when I lie in my bed in my favorite PJís, I cry. I'm not really a baby but I wish my daddy would talk to me, Grandpa. Like you do. I know maybe you think I'm not a good boy. But I am. I help out ... well sometimes.
Me, and my brother Todd, we fight a lot. It's not really my fault. He keeps punching me on the shoulder. It hurts too. Todd is thirteen. He's really strong.
When we fight, my daddy goes to work at church. He says he has lots to do. I think he might be scared to lose his temper with us kids.
After daddy leaves then Todd does his ... you know ... his punching bag thing. Except, Iím the punching bag. I wish he would stop. Maybe he will when I grow up. Hey, maybe I'll be really tall. Even be bigger than him.
Do you think so, Grandpa? But I won't beat him up. My daddy says fighting is not nice. And I love my daddy.
Guess what, Grandpa? It's okay if I sit right beside you, hey? I really like to talk to someone. And you give good advice. After I leave here, well ... what should I do Grandpa? About Todd hitting me. Not go into his room?
But I only go in once or twice a week. And donít even take anything. Only look around? Donít go in even once? Maybe he won't hit me anymore? I think I'll try that.
Guess what, Grandpa? My mom went away to visit her aunt. You know already? She lives really far away. I think its a hundred thousand miles. Two hundred? Is that a lot?
You say, from Truro to Canso town? Oh, that's far. Anyway, my daddy is the cook when she's gone. And guess what? He's not really a good cook. No, not really.
But I still eat the food. He makes burned pancakes. Even the juice is lumpy. But I drink it. Do you think I can tell my daddy about that juice, Grandpa? Would he be mad if I said, daddy you're not a very good cook? I bet he might laugh. He wouldn't?
Hey, sometimes I wish I could tell him some things. But I think he would get even madder. Like, my daddy preaches too long. I sit and I listen. And I listen and then I wish he would stop. He talks for a whole half hour.
That's too long. It's not? Some ministers preach for a whole hour? Then he must preach at least an hour too.
Do you think one day I can talk to my daddy like I talk to you, Grandpa? Good. I canít wait. Sometimes I wish my daddy would take me fishing, just the two of us. And Todd could stay home and cook.
I have to go and finish my newspapers now, Grandpa. And thanks. You give good advice. What's for supper? Probably some more burnt pancakes.
Why do I eat them? Thatís easy, because I love my daddy.
FOOTPRINTS, a close family novel about a fatherís search for a son he never met can now be ordered from SynergEbooks. Richard & Esther Provencher are also co-authors of two other novels soon to be published at: www.synergebooks.com