Generation gap: just like looking in the mirror

Ed Smith
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I have this grandson. Nothing extraordinary about that. People everywhere have grandsons and granddaughters. I have five grandsons myself.

The oldest fellow we got for free. He became a member of our family sometime before we even had a family. You want more detail? No problem. Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a $20 bill.

We have three more grandsons living in Clarenville whom we don’t see nearly enough of. They were here for several days last week with their mother, Daughter No. 1, for their grandmother’s birthday — she was 29. Daughter herself had a birthday last week in which she was several years older than her mother. In fact, she is older than what I think I am whenever I think about it.

I know, you’re right — that comment will not go over well in certain quarters.

After last week’s column on the pelicans of Miles Cove, may as well have the whole family mad at me rather than just my sister and her husband. Everyone will be, too, if I don’t mention that I also have two beautiful granddaughters.

Anyway, back to this one particular grandson.

Like the others, he’s a joy to have around, which is good because he lives only a stone’s throw  (literally) away and is in and out of here all the time. If he were a pain in the butt, my daughter and her family would have to leave the area. I ain’t going nowhere — for a while. He’s quick and bright and also prone to accident.

A little while ago, he broke his arm playing hockey. No big problem there. He was the hero warrior who proudly displayed his cast for signing everywhere he went, including church.

Finally the cast came off. What did he do? Promptly broke it again in gym, in the same place, except much worse. I noticed this time he kept the cast covered up. Don’t think he was really proud of the second break.

Couldn’t keep the problem hidden, though. Our minister kept the congregation up to date, including when he had the second cast removed.

He’s a steadfast member of the congregation. Doesn’t complain at all about going to church.

In all fairness to everyone, I should point out that the three boys in Clarenville were confirmed in the United Church there a couple of Sundays ago. Continuing with the fairness theme, I should also state that the two girls are confirmed members as well. You may not care about any of this. So why are you still reading? :-)

Probably much like other 13-year-old boys, he is strongly allergic to work. Indeed, as an adolescent, I had much in common with young Nicholas. When I was 13, my maternal grandmother one day watched my many attempts to get out of household chores.

“Eddie will be a writer someday,” she said thoughtfully to my mother. “He’s too lazy to work like everyone else.”

My teachers observed that same tendency in me. I don’t know how many times the teachers in my high school grades reported that problem to my father, but it was more than once. I think the understatement of my school career came when one wrote on a report card, “His work ethic is not Ed’s strongest suit.”

Every once in a while, there are signs that over the years, I gradually grew out of my laziness, but these are not easily observable.

Not long ago, Nicholas’s Uncle Robbie put him to work mowing our front lawn. Rob was at work on his garden, which more or less backs onto our backyard. Before long, his nephew appeared around our house and over to Rob’s place.That was quick work, he thought.

“All finished?” he asked. “Everything done? Perhaps I should have a look.”

Without a word, Nicholas turned around and went back to our lawn. Shortly thereafter, Rob looked up and here’s young Nick trotting towards him. Again, hardly enough time had passed for him to have completed the work.

“Got it all done, Nicholas?”

“Yes, well, pretty much, almost. ...”

“All raked? Whipper-snipping finished? Everything all ...”

When Rob looked up, Nicholas was heading back towards our lawn, not exactly briskly, you understand, but heading in that direction. Rob felt a twinge of pity for his young nephew, but solaced himself with the thought that the boy was learning a lesson in how to complete a chore.

Getting from our house to grandson’s house is a very short cut through Rob’s garden. However, one can take a long way around by going up our street past a few houses, cutting through the garden of another of Rob’s houses and thence home.

Rob glanced up at the narrow view he had of the street in front of our house just in time to see a slim figure legging it past his line of sight so fast he was only a blur. No way was he going home past Rob again.

I didn’t say Nicholas was stun.

Time to give the boy a break. Like his sisters, he’s been a tremendous help to us. He can make a cup of tea with the best of them and, like his Uncle Robbie, can whip up a quick lunch in no time. Happily, we all like Vienna sausages.

Academically, he’s got an average in the mid-90s. Perhaps most telling of all, he has never, ever been disrespectful to us, his grandparents.

He reminds me so much of me at that age — good-looking, bright, loves the world and is quite sure the world loves him, etc. and does the boy loved to hunt. From rabbits to grouse to moose, he goes after it all.

In the spring, you’ll find him in by the pond, watching his bobber.

Someday I’ll tell you about the grandson who’s a champion robot builder.

Beats showing pictures all to hell.

Ed Smith is an author who lives

in Springdale.  His email address


Organizations: United Church

Geographic location: Clarenville, Vienna, Springdale

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