“Pappy? Grampa is older than you, right?” Jason asked as he sanded his pine car for the church derby.
“Yup.” Pappy settled onto a stool beside his workbench.
“Then why is he really old and you're just old?”
A chuckle rumbled from Pappy. “Well, I suppose it's 'cuz I've kept active all these years and he hasn't.”
Jason's inquisitive eyes studied Pappy. “Why?”
“I knew what I wanted to do in life and I went after it, but yer grampa just kinda went through life, doing what he had to do.”
“But how does that make him so much older?”
Pappy thoughtfully looked around his workshop. “Well, I remember back when we were young men--one of the things I wanted to do was to sky dive. I was working in the factory then, so I was making just barely enough to take care of our needs. Your grandmother an' I had been married for only a year, and she was pregnant with your daddy. Life wasn't easy, but I knew what I really wanted to do, so we sat down and made a plan. We didn't get hung up on all the reasons why we couldn't do what we wanted to; instead, we concentrated on finding ways to follow our dreams. We pinched pennies, I worked extra hours and odd jobs, we did anything and everything we could to save money. It wasn't easy, but we knew exactly what we wanted and we pursued it. The result was that I learned how to sky dive, and over time I was able to even become an instructor.”
“So sky diving kept you younger than Grampa?” Jason smoothed his fingers over the car looking for rough spots.
“Well, that was one of the things, but I think it was more than just that. I think it was how I thought about things. I never thought 'I can't' I always thought 'How can I?'.”
“And Grampa thought 'I can't'?” Jason asked.
“Yup, sad to say, he did. I love yer grampa, he's been a good friend for 50 years, but he shot himself in the foot by focusing on all the reasons why he couldn't do things instead of finding ways to make it so he could follow his dreams. Before too long, he completely quit dreaming. When he quit dreaming he began to grow old. Hand me that thing an' lemme check it.” His gnarled hand reached out and plucked the pine car from Jason.
Luke, having just arrived, smiled as he leaned against the door jamb, watching his father and his son work together. “And when Grampa quit dreaming Pappy dreamed even more; then he found ways to reach those dreams,” Luke said.
Jason hopped off his stool and greeted Luke with an exuberant hug. “Dad, come see my car. I'm getting ready to paint it.”
“Hey, that's great! What color did you pick?” Luke asked.
Jason grinned. “Lime green with a lemony yellow racing stripe.”
“Jason, grab that chamois cloth and wipe this puppy down good, I do believe it's ready for paint,” Pappy said, handing the car back to his grandson.
“You wanna know the biggest difference between Pappy and Grampa?” Luke asked. “Pappy pursued and did the things he wanted to. He didn't put them off. Grampa always said he'd do things after he retired, but then he messed up his knee and couldn't. Because he put off doing those things, he's completely lost out on the opportunity to do them.”
“Yer right, Luke,” said Pappy as he opened the bottle of lime green paint.
“And that's when Grampa went from being old to really old?” Jason asked, looking from Pappy to his dad.
Pappy pulled a paintbrush from a nearby jar and ruffled the bristles, making sure it was clean. “Yup. That's right.” He handed the brush to Jason. “Now remember, paint the car, not my workbench.”
Jason rolled his eyes. “Pappy!” He dipped the brush into the lime green, his eyes dancing. “This is such a cool color. You wanna know what I'm gonna do after I finish this?” He was concentrating on painting and missed the look his dad and grandfather shared. “I'm gonna make a go-cart.”
Pappy's shoulders shook with silent laughter.
“How're ya gonna do that?” Luke asked.
“I dunno, but I'll figure it out and do it. Just like Pappy. And I'm gonna paint it lime green, too. I love this color.”
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