IT WAS A LAID-BACK SUNSHINY afternoon. We were seated in an outdoor café, catching up with family after a break overseas. The grown-ups were sipping frothy coffee, the kids were sucking fruit-smoothies through straws. And across the table, enjoying the noise and nonsense, was my youngest grandson – a handsome seven-year-old, with the biggest, roundest, brownest eyes.
His Grandma and I had been away for three weeks. And he was studying me behind his smoothie, checking us out, pleased to have us home. Then, during a lull in the conversation, he leaned back, folded his arms across his chest, and boldly observed:
“So you’re still alive, eh, Grandad?”
Where that came from I have NO idea! But, when we finally stopped laughing, I assured him that I was … that I was glad he’d noticed … and that I had every intention of staying alive for many decades to come!
Kids say the darndest things, eh. And it’s moments like these that make grandparenting worthwhile.
I recall another Mintie-moment, on a yesteryear beach holiday, when, after giving me a face-to-neck check-up, three granddaughters announced: “You’ve got lots of purple veins – but at least you’re not bald!”
And yet another moment, en-route to someplace in the car, when an older grandson enquired, shyly but sincerely: “When you were my age, Grandad, were there dinosaurs around?”
What these kids don’t know (and I’m reluctant to tell them) is that ageing runs in my family. My great grandad got it. My grandad got it. It caught up with my dad, eventually. And one day, ready or not, it’ll come looking for me …
Scientists can’t postpone it, doctors can’t cure it, and healers can’t heal it. The truth about OLD is, we’re all gonna be it!
That’s a long way off, of course, and I refuse to worry in advance. It’ll happen when it happens – and I already know what I’m gonna do.
I’m gonna retire and live off my savings!
What I’ll do the second day I have no idea …
JOHN (GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER) WAS TOLD BY A FRIEND AND MENTOR: “BEING OLD DOESN’T SEEM THAT OLD NOW THAT I’M OLD.”