Old Timers Resisting High Tech


We all have high points in our lives that represent a moving or interesting story. Post your story with us by e-mailing them to stories@otrht.com. Be sure to include your name and the who, when and where. If you want to remain anonymous, that's OK too. Once again, we only ask that you act in good taste and in good faith. The story should be true and represent actual events and emotions. Here is an example of a story when a grandfather experienced the birth of his first grandson.

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Copyright October 11, 1997
by Ron Ewart

The morning of July 25, 1996 did not start out nor end as an ordinary day. In fact, the day turned out to be the termination of a venture with two partners and three companies that ended with me walking out as president, facing a very rocky, uncertain financial future caused by the negligence of those two partners. Looking back, it turned out that I was guilty of very bad judgment on the capability of my partners. Their negligence and my bad judgment became the recipe for what, with a little hind site, was preordained.

At that moment, I had not much to be grateful or thankful for. I was a little over a year away from my 60th birthday. Mustering up the courage to start over and face the aftermath of the loss of my companies was a daunting task. On that day, I wasn’t sure I had the energy.

But something else happened that day. A “something” that has changed my life for the better and altered it in a way that I could have never imagined. Because you see, a living, breathing, pure and loving creature entered the world on that day as well.

A year or so before, my son of thirty odd years finally found the love of his life and they elected to be bound by the tenets of matrimony. I was even honored to play my guitar and sing the “Wedding Song” during the ceremony. The product of that union was the most beautiful, adorable human creature I have ever seen. On that fateful morning of July 25, 1996, my grandson was born.

Now I have heard all of the stories from other aging parents about becoming a grand father and I have to admit to a little “so what” attitude. I love and adore my own two children, a boy and a girl, ten years apart. I love my wife of 35 years in a very special way. But there was no way that I was ready for the almost immediate, spectacular attachment to my grand son. Why does he touch me?

We were very fortunate to be only 15 minutes from my son’s home so we became, with great relish I might add, the baby sitter of first resort. My wife was only too willing to give what ever time was available to our beautiful grandson. Did I mention, they named him Preston?

From the very first time we came in contact, it was clear that a special bond was forming. I’d lay with him on the ground and talk to him in low tones. Or I’d play my guitar and sing to him. As he grew, I played with him in any way possible. He would smile and coo. I would laugh and hold him. When he seemed a little troubled just prior to going to bed or he couldn’t sleep and was restless, I would hold him close to me and hum a lullaby or talk softly to him about anything. He would lay his head on my shoulder and cling to me with his tiny arms. When he finally began crawling we would have crawling races. My wife has several photographs showing our posteriors heading away from the camera. I won-der why most of my pants have holes in the knees. And I’d keep asking myself, why does he touch me?

I’m not a religious man by any means nor do I take stalk in the biblical connections to human love. I take no stalk in the “original sin” or repentance. I could never believe that a baby is “guilty” of anything. Nevertheless, I believe strongly in family because it makes good pragmatic sense to have a father and a mother who love each other and pass that love on to their offspring. There is no substitute for soft, gentle love when building character in a human being. Yes. Discipline is important but not as much so as empathetic love.

A baby is probably the most helpless creature on the face of the earth. Even new-born animals seem more prepared to suffer the rigors of their environment than a human child. And human offspring remain helpless for much longer than the creatures with which they share this earth. Without the love, caring and nurturing of their parents there is literally no chance of survival. Even if they have parents and those parents are not capable, for whatever reason, of delivering that love, caring and nurturing, the child of this loveless union has no chance at all to survive normally.

Even knowing all this, why does he touch me? I’m not his father. Is it because he was so free with his love of me? Was it the constant hugs? Was it the giggles of contentment and glee when would play “hide and seek”, or peek-a-boo? Was it because of his excited attention when I would read to him? Was it because his face would literally light up when he would see me? Or could it be a biological sort of thing? You know. Seed of my seed. Even if it were so, it is only part of the equation. In the case of Preston and me, it appears to be something much deeper.

When he became a little more mobile, I would sit him on my knee and play the piano for him. I’d marvel at his attempt to mimic my hand movements. I would try to teach him “single finger” playing but he would grace the piano with his two fists instead. It made more noise that way. When he came to visit, first he would crawl, then he would run immediately to the piano. To sit on grandpa’s lap and play the piano must be a priority for him. Why does he touch me so?

Maybe its because love, freely given in both directions, undemanding, non-judgmental, becomes the critical mass for a different, deeper kind of love. Or maybe there is a special grand father - grand son love that can only be felt when you become a grand father. Why does he touch me?

When ever he comes to visit, I take special attention to take him around the yard and show him things. The trees, a leaf, a unique hole in a rock, a bug, a bird, the kitty. I push the bird feeder and he seems fascinated as it sways back and forth on its suspending rope. I show him all of the colors of the different flowers and we feel and touch the grass, and the fence, and the tree bark, and the hard surface of a rock, and the cement. We stop at the strawberry plant and sample the sweet, rich taste of a ripening strawberry. I look up and point at the blue sky and I say “sky” and he says “sky” back.

I take him inside my car and let him hold the steering wheel in his hands. Then we call his grand mother on the car phone. She’s in the house, not 50 feet away. Today, grandma as “ga-gi”. I am “ga-ga”. He knows who we are and we know who we are. But alas, soon we will be known as grandma and grandpa. But we will never forget “ga-gi” and “ga-ga”.

This little guy has even brought my wife and I closer together. Having sustained almost financial ruin, Preston made it all a little more bearable, a little more tolerable. Maybe because of him, I have not lost my courage or my energy to forge on into a new business. My confidence level is high. Would it be high had he not entered our world? Maybe. But somehow I don’t think so.

He is only 14 months or so now. We experienced the joy of family on his first birthday last July. His second Christmas is only a few months away. We can’t wait to see him again. He brings an indescribable kind of joy to our lives. This all-too-brief time in his life will pass on to a new phase, but we will never forget how a tiny, smiling human baby came into our lives and changed them forever.

New life in any form is a promise and a continuance. They are the sun that brings light to the dawn. They are the refreshing sound of a river as it makes its way to the sea. They are as the soft wind in the trees in summer. They are the explosion of flowers in the spring. They are as the gentle drifting of new snow as it dresses the ground for winter.

Preston, appearing out of no where, has become my promise, my continuance. Why does he touch me so? Shall it be the miracle I’ll never know?

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