Aphids! “Oh, no you don’t,” muttered the old-timer as he sprayed frantically into the lush, climbing vines of white Summer Snow roses. “Not on my watch”.
Darby rounded the trellis in time to see and hear the exchange between his grandfather Charles and the rosebush that had been a fixture for all his 8 years. “Still talking to the plants, G-Pa?”
Wiping his sweaty brow on his sleeve as he straightened his tall, lean frame, Charles took a long look into the honey-colored eyes of the freckled-face, red-headed imp that stood before him.
“If, it’s not one pest it’s another,” Charles offered with a grin. Darby’s giggle was response enough to demonstrate the affinity shared between this unlikely pair.
“Finish your history lesson?” quizzed Charles. “In my day we had to ride a bus to attend school, not click online.” So many changes in my lifetime he thought. Who would have thought that in 2028 life would be so different?
“Lessons all done, G-Pa,” Darby replied. “But, I could use some help studying for my exam tomorrow. Why is it so important to learn about ancient history?”
Taking off his gardening gloves, he walked toward the small modern greenhouse with Darby in tow. Putting gardening tools away, Charles thought about the question.
“History is more than memories; it is the record that tells a story.” Charles settled down onto the moss-covered rock wall that ran along the edge of the back patio. This was his favorite spot for sitting and meditating. His Ebenezer Rock. Where he and God met as he studied God’s word and sought answers to his own life-questions.
“When I was a boy, there were two world superpowers. These countries dominated space exploration and challenged each other in economics and military prowess. On the world stage they played out a power-struggle in sports at Olympic-games and controlled foreign affairs. They even carried on what was known as the Cold War. Tell me what you know about these two countries."
Darby sat at his grandfather's feet, flat on the flagstone patio as only youth allows.
“G-Pa, you really care a lot about history, don’t you?”
“I ought to care, I’ve lived a lot of it,” Charles said just a little too loud and with much emphasis. “What was the name of the world power that ceased to be in 1991?”
“Oh, G-Pa, everyone knows about the Soviet Union.” Darby replied.
Never one to allow a slacker any room, Charles continued, “The correct name, details please.”
Without a blink, Darby responded to the expected query. “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. The U.S.S.R. It was dissolved in 1991.”
“Right you are,” Charles responded failing to keep the pride he felt from spilling over his weather-beaten face with its day-old whiskers. His voice cracked and mist covered his pale-blue eyes as he quietly asked, “What about the other world-power?”
A chill in the air settled around the two as the old veteran and the young lion considered the inevitable reply. Both sat quietly as the sun lowered and the rock wall grew colder, the flagstone grew harder.
Darby’s chin quivered as he replied, “America. It was dissolved in 2015 only three years after they changed the motto to ‘Forever Tolerant’ from ‘In God We Trust’.” The United States Of America. The U.S.A.”
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