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The Fabric of Life - Steps Along the Way

Hank the Tank stylin' in new boots.

My Dad turned 78 on Wednesday.  He was 22 when I was born.  I got started on a family later in life by almost 10 years.  My Cait has been a wonderment to me since the day she came into my world.  And just when I thought it could not get any better, along comes grandboy Henry AKA Hank the Tank  The stars came in to perfect alignment and the circle went ’round again on that day.

56 years on this earth is not a particular milestone — certainly not like the Lordy,Lordy He’s 40 or The Big Five O.   The aches and pains of a life lived rough are gaining,  I notice a step lost here and there,  Andy Rooney eyebrows appeared from somewhere and the younger gals at the grocery store really aren’t checking me out. What can I say;  it sucks to get old.

My Dad and Henry

Cait and Hank trekked to the folk’s house outside of  that Baytown for Thanksgiving and it was a mighty grand visit by all accounts.   Lots of good food and catching up on life;  I really just can’t remember a finer holiday.  Cait had told me that Henry had matured quite a bit since we  had last seen him in May.  I could not believe the transformation from baby to little boy.  From the minute we picked them up at Houston Hobby,  he was a non-stop source of joy for me.  Kids that age live in a fresh world that presents something new to marvel at every single day.  Henry shared his world with me for a few days and just like I finally came to realize what being a Dad meant,  the understanding of being a Grandpa has finally settled on me as well.

Hank, his Pops, Tuco the Dog

I got some strong opinions about things in this world.  Regular readers are no stranger to that,  for a fact.  Some may hold my strong convictions about certain matters to be wrong headed but that is of little consequence to me.  Every one is entitled to their own opinion and so far we are still entitled to freely speak of such in these United States.  I firmly believe  the only reason we are put on this earth is to prepare the next generation to live a good and full life.  It is plenty harder than it sounds.

Looks to me like you are never actually done raising a child. Sure, they grow up and begin their own lives in which you play a lesser part but a parent is always ‘on call’.   Cait still calls on me for advice and sometimes I still preach at her with unsolicited fervor.  Such is the role of parent and child.   Some say your kids will never grow up in your eyes and I don’t ascribe to that notion.  I have but to look in the mirror to see the short road that is left to me.   When I look at Cait and Henry, I see the world ahead of them for taking.  Cait has grown into a fine young woman and is turning out to be a wonderful mother.

One lifetime ago - My Grandfather and me. I can still hear his voice and his laugh.


Henry is the smartest, handsomest, most extra-special grandbaby on this planet.  Of course, I am going to say that!  Reality is that I have yet another role to fill before my time here is done and I had not fully realized that before I felt his tiny arms circle ’round my neck at the airport.   Grandfathers are meant to be a sounding board and a source of wisdom.  They are meant to teach a child the true meaning of dignity, integrity and strong values.  Grandfathers are the living links between the generations.  My Grandfather had a profound influence on my life and still does to this day. I only wish I can manage half that effect on Henry.


One day, I will show Henry this quotation and tell him how important it has been to me. Some of you have read it here before; won’t hurt a thing to read it again.




My Symphony

To live content with small means,
To seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy, not respectable,
And wealthy, not rich,
To study hard, think quietly,
Talk gently, act frankly,
To listen to stars, birds, babes,
and sages with open heart,
To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
Await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

William Ellery Channing  (1810-1884)

End Note: Billy Joe Shaver does Live Forever.  Listen to the old man sing.  Gonna put a lump in your throat.


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3 comments to The Fabric of Life – Steps Along the Way

  • Snowbird

    The old King James bible says “Children’s children are the crown of old men … ” Welcome to the club! I have described myself as a RV Walter Mitty … planning trips I will never take and reading about places I will never see. Some of it is due to my DW’s physical limitations, but I know that is really just a copout … especially after reading the_Wanderer. I really enjoy the times with my grandkids too much … camping, bike riding, fishing, building projects, etc.

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  • Joel

    Sweet, sentimental post, Andy. We’re not grandparents yet, and truthfully, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m way the hell too young.

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  • LJ

    plug into John Prine’s Please Dont Bury Me. (in the cold cold ground). What a wonder poet, singer/song writer.
    My Dad was 36 when I came to be in 1950, a man of few words, but solid of deed, work and word. Never failed to stop what he was doing to help w/ my needs, or others, needs and wishes.
    I need to remember that trait, now that my oldest grandson is here w/ his mom/my oldest daughter since september on their move from Pearl Harbor to Rhoade Is. He tends to be in my short sighted ways a videogame preoccupied 10 yr old, who is often short of manners, and good sense. I find myself short on guidance manners myself, when I find him not in possession of the above two items that drive me to reach for the Blanton’s. My Dad was always available, accessable, and willing, but remained a man of few words, so all through my life I saw him as reliable as a clock ticking off the passage of time, I wonder what happened to that gene trait in me.

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