A Tribute

During this time of celebration I bid farewell to the last of my grandparents, and with her the final flesh and blood tie to my childhood. Perhaps I've grown cynical, but it felt like an era had passed. A time when a visit to your grandparent's house meant spending hours doing what today amounts to nothing, and being happy doing it. A time before computer games and slick children's videos, before CD players and psychologist approved high contrast toys with no moving parts.

We played with grandpa's dancing broom and treasured his hand carved wooden blocks. Countless hours were spent stalking imaginary foes with shiny cap guns, a tree was an impenetrable fortress, a hedge a line of defenders. Simply hearing a train in the night evoked thoughts of the wonderful places they had been and the magical ones yet to come.

Now the world in which we live is filled with computers, pagers, and cell phones. We've discovered that nothing is our fault, yet we must be politically correct. That an honest day's work is being replaced with the hope of a frivolous lawsuit, that respect has turned to contempt, that mediocrity has become accepted.

Strangely while parents shudder at the thought of their child playing with a toy gun, our society has turned to the sensational, the immoral, the irreverent. Family values are scorned as somehow threatening to the very fabric of a country that perhaps needs a shake up.

During the seemingly endless trip to our grandparents' houses we climbed over seats, helped dad steer, and slept on the package tray. As adults we loaded our front and side impact air bag equipped minivan, carefully belting each child into their assigned place in warning festooned safety seats to attend the funeral of the great grandmother they would never truly know.

All of these things fought for my attention while I grappled with feelings of guilt for not having spent enough time with her during my adult life. As the service came to a close we heard the haunting sound of a passing train, perhaps keeping its long ago promise and whisking my grandmother's spirit to that magical place.