Friday, June 1, 2007

Baby Boys

I ran into a little problem with the Old Shale scarf I'm making out of the Noro. So I tinked. Then I tinked a little more, knit a row, checked it out...and froggy went a-courtin'. By then I had knit enough that I learned the pattern, so having started over it seems to be going much better. Honest and true? I have no need for another scarf; the yarn seems a bit scratchy; it's a little narrow for my taste...but I'm just dying to see how the color works out. I've read that the Noro softens up nicely with gentle washing so I'll give it a try, and there's always someone can use a beautiful hand-knit scarf come winter. Oh, it's warm now, everything's growing (don't you love my lovely Columbine?) but I have no delusions. This is Wisconsin. "If you don't like the weather....wait a minute." You know how some people put away their winter clothing in plastic bags and garment bags in May? Not in Wisconsin. We move them to the bottom of the drawer. "July" you say? "Could never snow in July". We take no chances. Just because it hasn't in recorded memory does NOT mean it can't. And if we put the winter clothes away out of reach you can bet it will.

This is my weekend of Reunions with the Baby Boys. Tomorrow (Saturday) we're going out to have a picnic with my second grandson, C. He's 17 years old; last time I saw him he was 11 (and it was at his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, which I will bring up lest he doubt my affection). He's a man now, contemplating a military career....I mean to fight the temptation to sit him down and go through my Horrors of War speech. I won't meander through the history of women weeping into the shoulders of horses, of women sobbing into their handkerchiefs in the creosote-scented steam of the trains, of the women waving damp kleenexes on the tarmack....nope. I won't mention any of that. Probably.

What I will mention (and he was forewarned) what a sweet infant he was, what an adorable baby. And I'm armed with quite a lot of photographs of his angelic infantile self, in my arms, in the Husband's arms, in a variety of spots in our house. I have a school picture of him that must be a couple of years old, sent to me by a dear friend who had photocopied it from the yearbook. When I look at that wonderful contraband photo, I see in his face that of his father-my-son at that age, and though I cannot prove it -- the face of his grandfather, my first husband. I think I have one or two pictures of him, too, and I'm going to try to find them. Somewhere I have one of those little photo books in which I somehow salvaged one picture of our wedding and one other picture of him - as well as the program from his funeral which has a picture of his very young self on it.

I've been thinking about it a lot, this meeting. I can't get C.'s little-boyness back, but I find myself very earnest about his heritage, his legacy, from "our side". I want to tell him about his grandfather and what I know of his family, and I want to instill in him pride in his heritage from my side too. My father was a newspaperman and I credit him for what I pride myself on: an appreciation for English, for literature, for the Written Word - and for an ease and skill with the language. I write children's stories (no idea how to get published - I'll work on that some day) and I love public speaking. Give me a lectern and an audience. And an hour. I'll talk. Don't know anything about the subject? Never slowed me up before. I improvise.

His great-grandfather on my side (that selfsame newspaperman) was in Who's Who in American Journalism and was given high praise by colleagues (including George Gallup) all his life. C. won't know any of that.

His great-great-grandfather on my first husband's side (or maybe just great-grandfather; I'll have to check) was a slave. "Carter's man Tom" - who became Tom Carter after the Civil War. He has cooking ability in his genes from that side too....and my conversations with him over these last few days reveal him to be well-spoken, erudite and elegant of speech. He shares that characteristic with his-father-my-son, who got it from his father (although I'd like to take full credit for it, but fair's fair).

I'm looking forward with great anticipation to the picnic. I'll report back - and Sunday is the high school graduation of grandson number one (whom I've seen once a year ago and before that not since he was about 3). All that heritage stuff? Applies to him too.

By the way, I am uncommon blessed in the Husband. All the positive stuff there is to say about a spouse? That's it and then some...with that in mind:

Final Thought for the Day (circa 1853) Definition of the Perfect Husband--
"A man what is careful of his clothes, don't drink spirits, can read the Bible without spelling out the words, and can eat a cold dinner on wash day." To which I add "and hasn't ever yelled upon seeing the receipts from my LYS." Like I said, *Blessed*.


Jane said...

Blessed, indeed. And what an interesting family history you have. I hope the boy finds it so, too.

Jane said...

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you how beautiful your columbine photo is. That is one of my favorite flowers.

Flymaine said...

I love columbine! I had so many varieties in my last garden. Thanks for reminding me how much I missed them!!

Good for you for wanting to share the stories about your side of the family. I treasure the stories my Dad told me when we worked on the Family Tree together--stories I will pass along to my nieces and nephews.

Love the Blog! Glad you started writing !!!