Tuesday, May 24, 2005

People, Tillmans should have been told the truth

There is a movie, released in 1996, entitled “Courage Under Fire,” starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan about an investigation into a friendly fire incident in the Gulf War/Desert Storm operations where a helicopter pilot (Ryan) was killed and a medal winner (Washington) is given the task of uncovering the truth of what happened to her in the sands of Kuwait.
Washington’s character discovers all that he thought he knew was false and the truth, and its subsequent cover-up, was far more harmful to everyone to be continued. People, simply, had to be told the truth.
The story from the Iraq-Afghanistan story that closely parallels this movie plot involves Ranger Pat Tillman, the former MFL player who chucked his gridiron future to follow his desire to perform his patriotic duty. What we were told about his death by the Pentagon has turned out to be utterly and totally false. Yet it was allowed to stand as fact until the truth was forced out, like a bad tooth from a mouth full of infected molars, by Washington Post reporters last December.
Yet no one, a civilian in the Pentagon or someone wearing a uniform, has been punished, reprimanded or even mildly scolded for this egregious act of deliberate deceit. That, of course, would follow the pattern where no one, other than knocked-up privates and hound-sniffing sergeants has been put on trial for torture and atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison. No one with any kind of authoritarian power has been so much as told, “Bad dog!”
Tillman was not only killed by friendly fire, but the exact circumstances of how that occurred resemble nothing like the account of his “heroic” battle against the enemy that allegedly led to his death and this country’s nationwide mourning. The posthumous awarding of the Silver Star was phony and was the testimonies to the events.
According to the Post, “soldiers in Afghanistan knew almost immediately that they had killed Tillman by mistake in what they believed was a firefight with enemies on a tight canyon road (near the Pakistan border). The investigation also revealed that soldiers later burned Tillman’s uniform and body armor.”
“Immediately, the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers,” the Post wrote.
The Pentagon, the Post revealed, not only knew of the truth, it deliberately allowed the proceedings to go forth. Tillman’s family is now as mad as a stirred hornet’s nest and well they should be. They were NOT told the truth about Pat Tillman’s sacrifice and that should have been priority number one. After all, it didn’t change the bottom line – Pat Tillman was dead.
There is a question to be asked: Why? Why allow this charade to continue? I suspect it was more for public relations and to use Tillman as a symbol for the country to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a strong figure, square-jawed with a great story – tossing his riches into the river (figuratively) and going to fight for his country. It happened before; the story of Private Jessica Lynch’s rescue in Iraq went from fact to Hollywood fable inside the walls of the Pentagon.
And Pat Tillman was a white guy. I do not discount that aspect at all. Had Pat Tillman been an African-American, I wonder aloud if such homage would have been paid. Would an NBA player (not a star because Tillman was NOT Peyton Manning) who did the same thing have been similarly feted? I don’t think so; and THAT’S the truth. The country took a look at this soldier, saw footage of his time in an NFL uniform and cried its eyes out.
“After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this,” said Patrick Tillman Sr. to the Post. “They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy.
“Maybe lying’s not a big deal anymore. Pat’s dead, and this isn’t going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has.”
Sadly, President Bush perpetuated this fraud when he delivered a taped memorial message about Tillman at an Arizona Cardinal game prior to the November 2004 elections.
Had the complete truth been known immediately, the reaction would probably have been one of sadness for the family and anger toward others for how senseless Tillman’s death was. Merely having put himself into harm’s way for a cause he believed in made Pat Tillman a hero.
But it did not excuse the military brass and Pentagon officials for concocting such a fabrication to tell his family and the American public.
People, simply, have to be told the truth. Without it, nothing we do holds a drop of moral consciousness.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The United Faith State of America - At War!

It is with sadness, more than anger, that I observe a religious war having been officially declared against other minority religions and non-believing (or adhering) groups in the United States.
The concept of free thinking has been hijacked by several ultra-right, evangelical organizations, churches, individuals and groups who professed that only their vision of God knows what is right for everyone and they are the only ones endowed with the wisdom, message and power to force that vision upon all the rest of us.
As a member of one of those religious minorities, I can tell you it is a scary time in the U.S. We are drawing closer and closer to “one God” government, which is no different than the dreaded one world government these conservative fanatics rage against.
The targets are liberals (many of whom are Jewish and when evangelicals use code words like “those people” when referring to ACLU leadership, it is a covert form of anti-Semitism), homosexuals (because, for some reason, evangelicals believe all evils flows through same-sex relationships), Democrats (whom they lump together with the first two evils) and a xenophobic attitude toward Middle Eastern people.
By simply labeling all supporters as “people of faith,” meaning THEIR faith, any attack on their politics is an attack against God and righteousness. Hence, the ferocity of the counter-attack.
The intrusion into the political arena has been centered on the appointment of judges – and only for those who rigidly follow the evangelical way of thinking and who profess and confess to this doctrine prior to rulings.
Whether these conservatives give a good hoot about the president’s judicial nominations is questionable. It’s the power within the process that counts to them. They demand (no longer a matter of want) that Congress follow THEIR dictum or suffer the consequences at election time.
Kelly Shackelford, who leads the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute of Plano, said in an article in the Dallas Morning News that "religious freedom, the misuse of the concept of separation of church and state, marriage and life” are under “attack.”
This is typical rhetoric from a group I now call the Persecuted Majority. It is unfathomable how Christians, who consist between 80-85 percent of all Americans, can claim that they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs when they are clearly in the majority. To suggest otherwise is a subtle form of bigotry against anyone who doesn’t believe in Christianity.
Ministers like Rick Scarborough, a Baptist pastor from Lufkin, and head of the poorly-named Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration, are part of a nationwide network of ministries and churches, dead set on denying open dialogue and free thinking in this country. And all this verbiage is cloaked with terminology of war.
“We’re lost enormous ground in this country morally as a result of the acts of judges,” he said. “We as Christian conservatives have concluded that the warfare right now is more in the courts than at the ballot box.”
Scarborough has enlisted several thousand Christian ministers for his Patriot Pastor network (funny, there is NEVER a mention of any Jewish rabbis in these groups; that’s because you cannot be truly Jewish and be evangelical).
Ohio-based minister Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church said at a recent gathering of 1,000 Patriot Pastors the issues surrounding the filibuster fight transcend partisan politics.
“We’re not Democrats; we’re not Republicans’ we’re Christocrats,” he declared in what could well become a third political party that has been sought in the U.S.
Others are prominent is this new war on ideology. You have the reprehensible Dr. James Dobson, who openly advocates paddling of children and strong methods for strict discipline, and his Focus on the Family (except for non-Christian or gay families) and Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council. Both groups were among a dozen or so organizations clearly labeled as anti-homosexual hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Ala. In its latest edition of “Intelligence Report.”
Why these people seem so hell-bent on destroying to lives of others who just want to be left alone is so mind-boggling. How can you profess to speak of a religion that profess to be about love when so much of the words concern hatred? It’s nothing more than bastardization of words for political power – pure and simple – as anti-religious as it comes.
There are so many other examples of religious warfare; it would take the entire New York library system to hold them all. One short example comes from the Kansas state school board’s hearing to force the teaching of “creationism” along side evolution in public school classrooms.
Of course, one is actual science, with data and evidence to demonstrate its validity and the other simply relies on faith, which is not universally shared by everyone – not even in Kansas. Belief in God is one thing, but to devalue science as a means to justifying a practice of faith is such a disservice, it is almost criminal.
The Kansas board deleted most references to evolution from the science standards in 1999, but elections the next year resulted in a less conservative board, which led to the current, evolution-friendly standards. Conservatives recaptured the board’s majority in 2004.
I could go on and on, from the evangelical takeover of the U.S. Air Force Academy and the breeding of hatred within the classes of potential officers to local issues, such as forcing non-Christians students in elementary grades to be forced to receive evangelical messages that run contrary to that individual student’s religion.
So when many people say that they might seek to live elsewhere, away from the United Religious State of America, if it gets worse, don’t laugh.
It IS getting worse. By the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The joy of petitioning

pe·ti·tion (noun) - a written request signed by many people demanding a particular action from an authority or government; (verb) to give or address a petition to somebody, especially somebody in authority or a representative of an organization; to urge for or against a course of action by presenting a petition.”

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

-- Article 1 – U.S. Constitution

In a democracy, the right to petition is not an evil thing; it is simply the avenue of access to get the people involved in deciding issues of importance. Contrary to some improper thinking, a petition is not a position paper nor is it a document one signs in blood and sells their soul to believe.
It is a mere vehicle by which citizens, who think they are left out of the democratic process and wish for their voices to be heard by particular governing bodies, can have their day at the ballot boxes. It is as American as apple pie, baseball and the Constitution. Yet it is as misunderstood as anything that exists today (except for Michael Jackson, of course).
In Collin County, we had three prime examples of petitions to seek voter approval on two important issues. In Frisco, Take Back Your Rights PAC, a group backed by Dr. David Becka, gathered enough signatures to attempt amending the Frisco city charter over the construction of new homes.
In Plano, the question was on $19 million in bond money originally approved by local voters to build a local arts center. In 2001, when additional money for a west Plano site was rejected, the city council looked elsewhere for its funding and its location. Eventually, a four-city consortium was established and voters in three of those cities were given the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” on that project … willingly by those respective councils.
Not so by the Plano “leaders.” Only after being forced to do so, through the Constitutional right of petition, did that happen on May 7. And prior to that vote, certain elected officials, led by Mayor Pat Evans, veered well out of the traffic lane to demonize the petitioners as somehow being bad citizens and hating the arts on a local and countywide basis.
Major Evans didn’t get it. It was NEVER about support for the arts. It was a question about access to decision-making, which often can be done only through petition. I’d venture to guess that most petitions arise because people either want to right a perceived wrong and were never given the proper respect or time-of-day from their elected officials. When it appears to be a positive for a community (such as the third example – petitioning to change alcohol sales regulations in Plano), those leaders are ALL for it. When it goes against their pronouncements, they rage against the machine.
In Frisco, both ballot measures failed and in Plano, the arts hall support and changing alcohol sales were approved overwhelmingly. In all cases, PEOPLE got the right to vote on the question; which is all anyone can ask.
Some folks have a funny way of looking at democracy. It’s fine and dandy when winds blow your way, but when the acquisition and retention of power, on ANY level, seems to be in jeopardy, then things get downright nasty. These people then seek to snuff out dissent and contrarian thinking with such buzzwords as “Love it or leave it.”
I’ll say this: Recall petitions (and tax rollbacks) are different and should be held to a much higher registration standard. Every two years, votes can replace elected officials; but not the chance to be heard en masse about issues. Tax rollbacks are SO destructive to a community (i.e., Bedford), it is an action that should be of last resort.
Cities do not exist for the pleasure (or plundering) of certain individuals, interest groups, business people or organizations. They exist for the people – ordinary, everyday, hard-working, taxpaying, grocery-shopping, child-rearing, lawn-mowing, microwaving, dog-walking, child-hugging, newspaper-reading, free-thinking men and women of all races, genders, religious persuasions and personal orientation. Council people and school trustees aren’t royalty and citizens do not abdicate their rights every year in May.
If they want to petition their government to have more of a say in what’s happening in their lives, to exercise the public’s best check and balance on the system, no elected official should EVER stand in their way.
Chuck Bloom can be reached at chuckbloom@hotmail.com.

Friday, May 13, 2005

No backtracking allowed on Texas 10 percent admission law

The backtracking by the Texas House of Representatives on the top 10 percent rule for high school seniors for admission to a Texas state university is not good news if you live in a rural community, are less-than-wealthy or possessing skin OTHER than Caucasian.
Under House Bill 2330, which passed last Thursday (May 12) by a 73-69 margin, states that no college would have to accept more than HALF of its freshman class on the basis of senior class rank. Despite any kind of propaganda by the bill’s sponsor, Republican Geanie Morrison of Victoria, it is a step backward for diversity and a major step backwards for offering opportunity to a large segment of the state’s population.
Right now, following the UT-Hopwood decision, state law guarantees admission to the top 10 percent of Texas high school graduates. That means the top seven students from a small South Texas high school that graduates 70 students would have the same chance to enter the University of Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M or any state school as the top graduates from the largest high school classes – Plano, Plano East, Plano West, Highland Park and many, many more.
Thanks to the efforts of Dallas State Senator Royce West, that chamber has kept the 10 percent rule intact but strengthened academic requirements. Hopefully that would prevent an occurrence where one year, the salutatorian (second-ranked graduate) at Wilmer-Hutchins High School possessed less than an 80 grade average.
This stink started with the University of Texas at Austin people because, lo and behold, 72 percent of students admitted from Texas high schools for this summer and fall qualified under the top 10 percent rule.
And what exactly is WRONG with that? It produces student body diversity without forcing things like racial quotas into the equation. BUT it also pits those suburban students against urban minorities and rural students.
Morrison, during the debate, said the bill already included racial and geographical diversity as a goal for 2015 – which, my friends, is a LONG way away. She said she didn’t want to “get rid of the Top 10 percent law” and is not opposed to diversity.
“I think this bill achieves higher diversity, not lessens it,” she said.
Any retreat on the 10 percent law would be saying to those students that they aren’t good enough to go to Austin or College Station and that learn to love junior college or smaller schools.
That kind of bullying should not be tolerated in the Legislature or in the state by taxpayers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Kill the "wrong" Wright Amendment

There can be NO creedence put into the study commissioned by DFW Airport in support of keeping its own fanny out of the fire.
The Wright Amendment is one of the most anti-consumer, anti-capitalistic, anti-free enterprise pieces of legislation EVER enacted. Both political parties are equally guilty for passage and then unwavering, blind support. NO free-thinking conservative can justify this kind of stranglehold regulation while preaching about the virtues of solving problems through the "marketplace." It's laughable.
Remember the fiasco at Love Field, known as Legend Airlines and what sleazy steps were taken by American Airlines to insure of that business' demise. Once Legend announced its startup, AA then demanded (and received) gates at Love. Why would it, you might ask, when AA dominated its OWN hub?
It did everything to undercut and erase Legend from the scene (which skirted the Wright amendment by flying fewer passengers than the law's restriction and won that case in court). The MOMENT Legend disappeared, AA slithered back to DFW and closed its gates at Love.
So all this talk about protecting a vital economic engine in North Texas are just wasted words to protect a business which has been sorely mismanaged for years. The law was passed to protect one business (American) and help one man (Robert Crandall).
Funny, Southwest makes money while AA leaks like the Titanic after going for a little ice. If there is truly to be open competition in American business, then Wright must go. Perhaps that is the best move for all involved (consumer, worker, etc.) in order to force American to clean up its own mess through poor management and even worse passenger service.
Give Dallas and Fort Worth passengers the same equal access to service as every other city in this nation. It is a position each person should stand tall behind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This and that from the news

Every so often, there is a news story so silly, so stupid, so "today" that the major media feels compelled to distribute it world wide.
So here it is (with a comment following), as reported in the Chicago Tribune by Peter Groner, the Karolinska Institute's Center for Gender Related Medicine reports that "powerful airborne chemicals emitted in male perpiration and associated with sexual reproduction trigger a heightened response in the brains of homosexual men similar to that seen in heterosexual women, researchers reported Monday.
Heterosexual men did not share the brain response to the chemicals in male sweat, according to a team of brain imaging specialists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
The current climate of debate over whether homosexuality is a matter of choice or is inborn makes such research extremely controversial, said team leader and neuroscientist Dr. Ivanka Savic of the institute's Center for Gender Related Medicine.
"I want to be extremely cautious — this study does not tell us anything about whether sexual orientation is hardwired in the brain," Savic said.
The subjects of the study smelled various compounds, among them two odorless substances closely related to the hormones testosterone and estrogen, as the researchers conducted PET scans that measure blood flow in different regions of the brain.
All three groups — 12 homosexual males, 12 heterosexual men and 12 heterosexual women — responded to common odors such as lavender in a similar fashion, engaging only the regions of the brain that process smell.
But the brains reacted differently to other chemicals.
A compound known as EST, derived from the female sex hormone estrogen, increased blood flow in part of the hypothalamus in heterosexual men but not in heterosexual women. Conversely, a testosterone-related substance known as AND lit up the brains of women and gay men, but not heterosexual men.
In another study also released Monday, researchers at the Monell Chemical Sciences Center in Philadelphia found that a person's preference for another person's body scent depends, in part, on the sexual orientation of both parties.
In the study, 82 heterosexual and homosexual men and women were asked to indicate their preference among samples of underarm sweat collected from 24 men and women of varied sexual orientation.
Gay men preferred body odors from other gay men and heterosexual women.
Odors from gay men were the least preferred choice of heterosexual men, heterosexual women and lesbians, said Charles Wywomensocki, who co-directed the research with Yolanda Martins
You think?!!!!? Isn't that the definition of what makes people become attracted to each other?
Here's what I want to know: Who in the world wrote the copy to entice members of each group to participate? Join a study of sexual attraction by smelling the body odor of others? YUK!
As a regular, overweight, Playboy reading (yes, I read the movie reviews first), happily-married, appreciative of the female form GUY, there is nothing quite as stinky as a lockerroom fragrented by used socks and jock straps. If you like that smell and you are a male, YES, YOU ARE GAY! Duh!
We know that advertisers sell products based on sexual attraction and Old Spice specifically has a commercial where two guys are watching a sporting event while their women languish in conversation in the next room, looking very unhappy.
Suddenly, one guy hugs his woman after a touchdown (not as cool as anything Terrell Owens would do) and she just melts at the very smell of his deodorant - obviously turned on by whatever Old Spice is peddling.
I'm no genius but I know there are many reasons why men and women, men and men and women and women (I think that covers it) are attracted to one another ... so don't "sweat" it.
And does ANYONE trust someone with the presumed fake last name of "Wywomensocki?" Is that just as obvious of a set-up as it appears to me? Was the ghost writer a Mr. Wymenlykey?
And then there is this from Sydney, Australia, where a prison hostage situation in that nation's top-security prison was diffused, and ended, by ... the delivery of 15 pizzas. Boy, talk about Pizza! Pizza!
Twenty prisoners were involved in the situation on the southern island of Tasmania (trivia answer: home of the late Errol Flynn, perhaps the original Tasmania Devil). Risdon Prison had been the scene of violence and unrest, according to the Associated Press, where the most notorious convicts are held in a country originally populated by convicts (it was a penal colony, much like the U.S. state of Georgia). Included among the group is Martin Bryant, who went on a shooting rampage in 1996 at the Port Arthur historic penal settlement, killing 35 people.
Who knew that some pepperoni and Canandian ham would settle the whole thing?

Friday, May 06, 2005

The FOX and the good-looking hound

Oh, Jennifer Wilbanks; you need to be introduced to Bob Eubanks. Your “Newlywed Game” left a lot to be desired … except if you were a cable news network executive. Then little Jennifer was a dream come true.
I must admit that I have more than a tinge of forgiveness and plenty of sympathy for this Georgia woman. No one, I repeat, NO ONE, will fully know what pressure she was understand when she decided to take a hike … er, jog, all the way to Vegas, and then Albuquerque. Under normal circumstances, that would make for a NICE honeymoon (two excellent American west cities).
But, oops, we forgot to leave behind a trip itinerary. Or a forwarding address. Or anything.
Into the breach steps people like Fox News Channel with the following exchanges (thanks to Howard Kurtz’ Media Notes column from the Washington Post for this transcription):
Fox’s Bill O’Reilly: “Woman goes out for a jog and boom, she’s gone. Do you think there’s an epidemic going on here?” And: “This young woman – it’s almost like Laci Peterson. She just disappears from a place that’s Mainstream, USA.”
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “I agree with the father-in-law-to-be.”
Geraldo Rivera: “That there’s foul play.”
Hannity: “Yes.”
Rivera: “So do I.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how media hysteria begins, by jumping, like Carl Lewis at the Olympics, to conclusions WELL before anyone has a single fact, or a piece of evidence.
And that is why it is all so heinous, especially FNC, which actively seeks the most sensational stories to either play to the public’s fears or insatiable appetite for blood, guts and violence. It is old-school local TV journalism with “If it bleeds, it leads” mentality.
At Fox, the mantra is probably, “If we can yell, it will sell.”
Little Jennifer Wilbanks, she of the admitted pent-up sexual frustration (look out dude on YOUR wedding night!!!), made a mistake. Hell, Julia Roberts made a movie out of it and no one said “Boo!” Let this poor woman regain her faculties and rebuild her life.
Forget charges, forget jail time (for WHAT?!?). If we jailed everyone who told a fib, or lied to a cop, or on their taxes, there would just you and I left on this earth … and I’m not so sure about you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Get me to the Cineplex on time

You can file this short little item under the “Duh?” file.
Loews Cineplex Entertainment has announced it will start advertising movie showtimes with a note stating that most movies actually start 10-15 minutes LATER because of all those commercials, previews and other screen clutter before the feature presentation commences.
No crap, Christopher Columbus. Who is their right mind BELIEVES that a stated time of 1:05 p.m. means the movies starts five minutes after one in the afternoon?
According to John McCauley, Loews’ senior VP for marketing, it was a policy change in response to complaints from moviegoers.
“We still think people enjoy coming early, getting their popcorn, finding their seats and talking amongst one another,” he added.
Hey, Mr. McCauley, that’s as big a load of crap as the soggy popcorn itself. You must arrive early to avoid sitting on such an angle as not to see anything; the popcorn costs as much as a steak dinner at Outback, people tend to step all over you to find a seat or they bunch together despite a totally empty theater and once they begin talking, they never cease, including during the movie.
As for the previews, keep them coming of coming attractions, but get rid of those commercials. You pay more than top dollar to experience “the cinema,” not a larger version of your television set. Ditch those commercials that are already seen on TV and get some theater-only exclusive spots … if you must have them at all.
And enforce the “no crying baby, no talking amongst one another during the movie and no cell phone” rule at your theaters. Kick those buttholes OUT and the message will be heard.
Even at the right starting time.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Waiting for a case of the ‘gramps’

The phone call that worries you most comes in the middle of the night … or as early as late in the evening – any time after you go to sleep. When you’re shocked out of a snoring slumber, you have the same thought that something has happened to your children – provided you HAVE children.
I always fear the same thing – hearing the words, “Mr. Bloom, we hate to tell you this, but … ” It is every parent’s worse nightmare.
But there is ONE phone call that I eagerly await – no matter what time of day it comes. Even if I am sound asleep, and my wife, Jodie, answers, uttering a few inaudible complaints and rolling over to say, “It’s for you,” I want to take the call.
Hopefully, it will be Amanda (my son, Robert’s wife) and she will say, “We thought you should know,” she will explain. “You’re going to be a grandfather.” Hopefully it will be followed by a tearful, cheerful giggle.
The call happened once before and my initial reaction was, “Chuck, you’re right. Nothing good can come with a phone call in the middle of the night.” But instantly, a sense of euphoria swept over me. Amanda was about to be a mother, Robert was going to be a father and I, the most unlikely of candidates, would become something I had always dreamed of being – a grandfather.
Unfortunately, things did not work out back then. It wasn’t meant to be … that time. Robert had sworn to me that he and Amanda would wait until she had gotten a job as a high school drama-theater teacher before starting a family. He also works and if “baby makes three,” everybody’s life is gonna change ... dramatically.
Can any set of new parents-to-be can be TRULY prepared? I tried on my end for a few weeks, rolling certain words around in my head to see which one would fit best - grandfather, granddad, grandpops, grandpa, poppy, opa.
I hold a special place in my heart for grandparents, especially grandfathers for a personal reason. I never had any as a child. Both of my parents’ fathers died before they were married. I never got the benefit of their experiences, their wisdom, their love or their nurturing.
My grandmothers lived until I got to college, but it wasn’t the same. They were Sunday night dinners, canasta games and that certain grandmotherly smell (the almond scent of Jergens lotion). They provided money for me to buy toys and visiting their apartments meant swimming or meeting former baseball players who lived down the hall.
Otherwise, it seemed that they exist to aggravate, in some sense, their own children. I was told stories about my grandfathers, but they had no relevance for me.
Unfortunately, my own children have suffered in a similar manner. My late father only saw his grandson twice in his lifetime and never, regretfully, saw his two granddaughters before his death. Dad always had some cockamamie tale about his failing health preventing him from playing with them. But they didn’t need him to be a playmate; they needed a mentor.
If am elderly man or woman can physically keep up with the incredible energy of a child, then a tip of the cap to them. However, all their knowledge and experience needs to be sent along the river of life. Oral history needs to be preserved in order to learn about the future, from what occurred in the past.
In modern times, both parents often must spend a significant portion of the day as wage earners, so caring grandparents can often fill the nurturing gap. All of it will benefit and positively influence our children.
I also worried that I was too young to earn the grandparent label. Nope, my driver’s license says I am 52 and while going to see U2 in concert still gets me jazzed, there is far more gray in my beard than any other color.
I’ll be ready. I’ll be pumped. I’ll be the Grandfather Man for the World Tomorrow.
So I can’t wait until the phone rings to announce the start of Amanda’s adventure. In fact, that call DID take place last week; she’s two months along and now we all hold our collective breath hoping that this time it will go full-term. I’ve given myself until month six before I invade Babys ‘R Us.
I’ll be there for Robert and Amanda and start my grandfatherly duty of spoiling this kid rotten from the opening moment of baby Bloom’s life.
Just try to stop me.