The Amend Corner

Seeing the grandkids again

By Don Amend
Posted 7/22/21

I spent last week in recovery. I needed it after spending a little over a month back in the Midwest; Minnesota to be more precise.

The trip was a welcome respite from the restrictions I felt were …

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The Amend Corner

Seeing the grandkids again

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I spent last week in recovery. I needed it after spending a little over a month back in the Midwest; Minnesota to be more precise.

The trip was a welcome respite from the restrictions I felt were necessary to avoid the COVID virus. I am, after all, one of those people with a “compromised immune system” and, as I mentioned in this space once before, three things — age, myeloma and diabetes — are all trying to kill me. That being the case, I try to be careful about my health situation. To that end, I donned a mask when I had the urge to  a make  a few coffee runs downtown or when I had to visit the fine people at Powell Valley Healthcare.

Some people see the mere suggestion of wearing a mask as the first step to being hauled off to a concentration camp, but, like I said, I’ll take the advice of the experts and put on a mask — even if it looks funny, and even if anti-maskers make fun of me for wearing one.

Furthermore, I followed the advice of those smart people and had myself vaccinated. And just to make sure I wouldn’t pass COVID along to friends and total strangers, I had my blood tested to see if my system had produced the anti-COVID antibodies it was supposed to produce. The test found the antibodies, so if someone finds himself infected with the COVID virus in the near future, he probably can’t blame me for his misfortune.

I suffered no side effects from the vaccine. It didn’t even hurt when my arm was jabbed with the needle, which, to tell the truth, is probably because I have been stabbed with needles so many times in recent years that my body has learned to turn off the nerves that lead to pain when it sees a syringe with a sharp point headed in my direction.

What does all this have to do with Minnesota, you might ask? Well, it has been two years since my wife and I have been able to socialize with our children and their children. As you might expect, that has given us a serious case of grandchildren withdrawal. This was our chance to make up for two years without hugs from our descendents.

We chose to meet them in Rochester, Minnesota, because that’s where our daughter’s family lives, and because Rochester is closer to Kentucky than Wyoming is. That made it easier for Josh and his family to visit Jennifer’s parents, who live in Kentucky, when he was done with us.

The two-year gap between our last grandkids get-together and this one produced some changes, which were predictable, but still a little shocking. The two sweet girls who joined their younger brothers in romping around our backyard two summers ago had turned a corner. Both of them were now teens, having recently celebrated their 13th birthdays. While they still joined their brothers in romping occasionally, their participation was more sedate. During the kids’ sessions of video gaming, most of the noise was made by the boys. The girls were much quieter.

In addition, the girls had grown taller, nearly as tall as their grandpa, which wasn’t a surprise, but still a bit shocking, and they are beginning to think about grown-up things. One of them in particular is already looking forward to the experience of driving a car. Her mom is not enthusiastic at the prospect, but she has a couple of years to get used to the idea, and when the time  comes, I’m pretty sure her dad will be the primary instructor.

As for the boys, well, they are still boys. One of them is a bundle of energy who would play catch with his dad all day if it were possible. On a trip to a bowling alley, he showed off his bowling technique, which consisted of pushing his ball down the alley, then immediately began jumping up and down an waving his arms in the air. His hopping didn’t stop until the ball reached the pins, whether or not it actually hit any of them. The other is more thoughtful and less noisy, but he has a competitive gene that is activated by visits to miniature golf courses and video games as well as bowling.

Our visit ended with lots of hugs for grandpa, which made the whole trip worthwhile. In addition, I received a Father’s Day card the four of them had signed, with each of them commenting on this old man. One wrote that I was a “great grandpa,” and another wrote that I was “cool.” One said that I made him laugh. The nicest comment came from one who thanked me for being “someone I can look up to.”

Grandchildren are great, and it’s worth traveling hundreds of miles to hug them.

The Amend Corner

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