Over the River and through the Woods, to Grandma’s House We Go

Finally, life is returning to normal.  But today I’ll skip the rants about why it isn’t.  I’ll celebrate life instead.  Camera Girl is cooking a spoon roast and humming and even singing slightly as she goes through the rituals that precede the magical food that will appear on time on the dining room table today.  There are potatoes and asparagus and corn and mushrooms and gravy and buttered rolls and of course the roast.  And pies and cakes have been baked and I know there will be ice cream to go along with that pie.  And of course there will be chocolate for the little girl who will be old enough this year to really know what’s going on.

And today is sunny and it will be warm enough to go outside and walk around and look for bugs and flowers and birds and look at the trees and the sky and play catch with a ball and pet the rabbit (alias bunny-hop-hop or Petey).  And we can sit around and talk about the barbecue that will be happening in May once it’s warm enough for the tables to be outside and the pool will be opened and we can have the rest of the family with us too.  That will be another milestone.

But today is for enjoying today.  New England forgot to provide one last, end of March, nor’easter snowstorm so the ground is pretty dry now and fit for walking and running and having a catch so today is a wonderful opportunity to declare the world is open for living again.

And as Kazantzakis said through his character Zorba this Easter dinner can’t be wasted,

“We ate and drank for some time in silence. The wind carried up to us, like the droning of bees, the distant, passionate notes of the lyre. Christ was being reborn again on the village terraces. The paschal lamb and the Easter cakes were being transformed into love-songs.

When Zorba had eaten and drunk quite copiously, he put his hand to his big hairy ear. “The lyre … ‘he murmured. “They’re dancing in the village.’ He stood up suddenly. The wine had gone to his head.

‘What ever are we doing here, all alone, like a pair of cuckoos? Let’s go and dance! Aren’t you sorry for the lamb we’ve been eating? Are you going to let it fizzle out into nothing, like that? Come on! Turn it into song and dance! Zorba is reborn!’ ‘Wait a minute, Zorba, you idiot, are you crazy?’

‘Honestly, boss, I don’t care! But I’m sorry for the lamb, and I’m sorry for the red eggs, the Easter cakes and the cream cheese! If I’d just scoffed a few bits of bread and some olives, I’d say: “Oh, let’s go to sleep; I don’t need to go celebrating!” Olives and bread are nothing, are they? What can you expect from them? But, let me tell you, it’s a sin to waste food like that! Come on, let’s celebrate the Resurrection, boss!’ ‘I don’t feel like it today. You go – you can dance for me as well.’ Zorba took my arm and pulled me up.

‘Christ is reborn, my friend! Ah! if only I was as young as you! I’d throw myself headlong into everything! Headlong into work, wine, love – everything, and I’d fear neither God nor devil! That’s youth for you!’

‘It’s the lamb talking, Zorba! It’s turned wild inside you, changed into a wolf!’

“The lamb’s changed into Zorba, that’s all, and Zorba’s talking to you!”

 

So I’ll take Zorba’s advice and put the Easter feast to good use.  I’ll celebrate the Resurrection and spring and new life and old life and I’ll put off Biden and woke ignoramuses and even the dissident right for another day.

Happy Easter.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 7 – Team Work

I have a very close relative who was in Iraq.  Well, actually, I have several close relatives who were in Iraq but in particular there is one who runs his family using the Army’s manual on discipline and unit cohesion.  And I have to say that has a lot to be said for it.

Full disclosure I never served in anything more regimented than the Boy Scouts.  I was too young for Vietnam and too old for 9-11.  But my father and my grandfather served and they always talked about military discipline and unit cohesion as traits that were sadly lacking in civilian life.  Well, when I was a kid, we gave all that talk very short shrift.  We were way too smart and savvy for all that regimentation.  At least that’s what we said back then.

But it recently occurred to me that discipline and unit cohesion were the answers to a lot of the problems we see in the world today and also a source of satisfaction in a world that is drifting apart into chaos.  Even within close family there is a tendency to become strangers.  I don’t mean that literally but rather compared to the closeness that existed when people didn’t move away from each other every other year.  We see each other once or twice a year.  We talk on the phone every few months and we lose track of what’s going on in each other’s lives.

But then when something goes wrong, we’re all alone.  And that’s even considering the old days when families had a passel of kids and everyone had plenty of brothers and sisters.  Imagine now where every family has at most two kids.  You start out almost alone and then by the time you head off to college your family is just a forgotten period in your life that is only revisited at Christmas and the Fourth of July.

The alternative to this is feeling responsible for your family.  If your brother has a problem.  Maybe he’s having trouble in school.  Make it your problem.  Help him out.  Tutor him.  Or maybe you notice that he’s not making friends very easily.  Include him in some activity or ask one of your friends to have a younger brother include him in some activity.

And of course, parents have to lift up their kids.  We take that for granted but you’d be surprised.  With two parents working often the kids get lost in the shuffle.  Spending time on kids’ homework and paying attention to teacher’s reports and what your kids tell you about school is critical.  Instead of the extra toy at Christmas, the weekend camping trip or the vacation in the mountains or at the shore is a much smarter investment.  You build the memories and you build a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

And just as important is having the kids do their part around the house.  Chores and responsibilities are vital to keeping kids engaged.  Even if mom is home every day, she is swamped with things that have to be done.  Enforcing discipline and teaching the value of work is probably the most important activity a father can have with his sons. And when kids become teens a first job is the transition from childhood to responsible adult behavior.

Grandparents have their place too.  Having get togethers that bring together your children and their children allows the cousins to know each other and stay close.  With the smaller family sizes today, this is even more important to maintain some sense of familial closeness.  Let the grandkids know they are part of a bigger and older family than just their parents and siblings.  There is magic in that for children of all ages.

I’ll be the first to admit that I came from a family where all of this was woefully missing.  We were a large family and my poor parents were outnumbered and unprepared for the insanity that we inflicted on them.  We ran amok.  Somehow, we all survived but sometimes it was a close thing.  But I have since seen it handled better and I attribute it to discipline and unit cohesion.  Give the kids plenty of love and attention but also expect family loyalty and responsibility for themselves and for each other.  Drill it into them that families don’t disband when the kids turn eighteen.  Family is a multi-generational structure where we support each other and make life better for those who came before us and those who are coming after.

Family is the closest relationship you should have.  But friends don’t have to be disposable.  It’s possible to have friends that are almost like family.  They’re rare but they can happen.  Probably for servicemen it’s less rare.  I have friends whose service buddies are lifelong pals who are there when they need them.  I envy them the camaraderie they have.

And finally, we have the wider community.  These are folks who share the same values.  With them we can share stories and good wishes and strategies.  Maybe sometime, something we say to somebody, may provide a morale boost or a bit of information that gets him over the hump.  At least that’s how I like to look at it.  But the same idea applies in each case.  Show a sense of solidarity with those you are related to.  Take responsibility to do your part and maintain your place in the family or community or even movement.  Feel like you belong and let the next guy know it’s not every man for himself.  And who knows, someday you might say something to someone who’s feeling very alone and it might give him a reason not to give up.  That’s not nothing.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 6 – The Miracle of a Traditional Wife

I never tire of reminding Camera Girl that in my mind she and I are very close in behavior to the married couple in W. C. Fields two classic movies, “It’s A Gift” and “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.”  In both movies Field’s hen-pecked character has a wife played by Kathleen Howard a tall, stout woman who affects the character of a cultured, histrionic scold who constantly hectors and nags at Fields’ character.  And Fields’ answer to almost every utterance of his wife is a meek, “yes dear.”  And I tell her this not because there is any resemblance physically or temperamentally between her and this shrewish character but because this reminds me of the natural antagonism that husband and wife experience in the course of their wedded bliss.  Well, also because I am sort of a jerk.

A few weeks ago, we were sitting down to dinner and she had cooked a soup using the leftovers from a ham we had for the holidays.  It was a ham and lentil soup and she decided to make it so thick that we call it a stoup, meaning stew/soup.  As I started eating dinner it occurred to me that being married to a woman like my wife is probably the greatest good that a man can have in his life.

A traditional wife makes your house into a home and raises a family.  And a family is the only true wealth that any man ever actually possesses.  And if she’s also pretty and a good cook like mine then it’s as close to heaven as any man can hope to see on this side of the great divide.  That’s the information I can provide to the young guys around today.

But where can you find such a woman today?  All the American girls have been sold on the idea that they have to have a career to be fulfilled in the modern world.  That is the root of the problem.  There are only two solutions, either convince some woman that there is a better option or go outside of the local pool of women.

As far as convincing women to move away from careers I think a man has to have the wherewithal to convince a woman that he can support a stay-at-home wife.  Probably that means owning your own home and having a stable income.  It would be best if you are up front about your plans and expectations so that you can eliminate the girls that will never work out.  I’m too old to know anything about on-line dating services but I would imagine a primary function would be trying to line up marital expectations.  Correct me if I’m mistaken that they must have a profile that corresponds to a traditional homemaker.

One thing that might be a starting point is avoid any girl who is planning on going to some very expensive college.  Unless her parents have funded her entire education, she is going to have to pay back those student loans and that will make it doubly difficult for you to afford a one income lifestyle.  So maybe you should be looking at women who go to the local community college or even better ones working in local jobs that do not require high powered college credentials.

But however you find one, if she has all the qualifications I mentioned in my intro then marry her and never let her work a day of her life outside of the home.  Have a passel of kids and enjoy every day of it for as long as you both shall live.  Raising a family is a challenging and sometimes a confusing task but as you get older, you’ll find that it really is the only meaningful thing that most human beings ever accomplish.    Ray Bradbury wrote a story called the Happiness Machine.  In it an inventor tried to make a machine that would make a person happy if he sat in it.  It had all the sights and sounds that he imagined could make a person happy.  Music, exotic vistas, delicious aromas, everything he thought he would want.  But by the end of the story, he discovers the truth when he looks into the window of his own house and sees his family, his wife and his children, performing their routine daily activities together in his own home.  That is the true happiness machine.  And if a man can’t find happiness in that then maybe he never will.

A Reminder of the Magnificence of Normal Family Life

Here in the Orwellian gulag that is Woke New England even family gatherings are a fatal thought-crime punishable by whatever means is imagined most effective at discouraging the proles from following so sinful an example.  And mothers of young children are the easiest to frighten into following whatever bizarre and depressing rules are forced upon them.

And so, throughout this sad exercise in government overreach my grandchildren have for the most part been held away from me and Camera Girl by their parents mostly out of fear for our health.  And no grandfather is foolish enough to argue with his daughter when she is concerned about the health of her children.  All you can say is, “Do what you think is best for the kids.”

But yesterday was a great day, a turning of the tide.  My daughter and my son-in-law brought over our grandsons for a barbecue and games in the yard.  No masks, no distancing, no nothing.  Camera Girl outdid herself with wonderful food that we enjoyed on the porch with badminton and other outdoor pursuits.  The four boys immediately reverted to true form and scuffled and bickered about every interaction.  It was glorious.  Even the weather was cooperative.  It was overcast and the temperature hovered around 75 degrees which meant no swimming pool but just the perfect temperature for me to participate in sporting activity without breaking a sweat.  And that allowed me to spend the maximum time with the kids instead of the adults.  Perfect.

I got to talk with my oldest grandson about his sophomore high school curriculum and offer help with chemistry and math if he needed it.  I talked to his brother about his eighth-grade classes and his sports interests.   And with the two younger guys I just talked dinosaurs and toys.  Apparently, T. rex still reigns supreme with the four-year-old although opened up an alternative category for herbivores and awarded it to Diplodocus.

I also got to talk to my daughter and son-in-law about how they were keeping these housebound boys busy this summer and was impressed by their ingenuity and energy.  I will confess I wouldn’t have had the stamina.  And it did my heart good to see Camera Girl laughing and playing with her younger grandsons and indulging all of their food requests up to and including various ice cream products that are forbidden to me!  I could tell that she was reveling in this socializing just as much as I was.

When they finally went home after a full day of fun, we cleaned up the wreckage of the gathering and traded favorite moments and observations on how much the boys had grown.  And it was then that I realized what an empty world this crazy quarantine has created.  What they say about not knowing what you have until it’s gone was made blindingly clear yesterday.

So, forgive this long rambling preamble into my domestic situation.  The point of this essay is acknowledging the real damage that isolating family members does and a philosophical question on quality of life.  If you are a grandparent being shut out of your grandchildren’s lives is a depressing and painful thing.  If children’s educations are interrupted that is a dangerous loss to our whole society.

Formerly we always placed the welfare of children before everything else.  If you are a grandparent how much of your grandchildren’s lives are you willing to waste to slightly increase your own odds of living?  Now admittedly I’m not the highest risk of dying from COVID-19.  I’m at the beginning of the age demographic affected but my health is reasonably robust.  So maybe this thing isn’t real enough to me make me afraid.  On the other hand, someone in our family died of the virus and another person needed hospital care and cutting-edge medicine to survive it.  So maybe I am aware of the stakes.

From my point of view, I would say the children ought to be allowed to go to school.  If there are teachers who are at risk, they should be retired, at least temporarily, at attractive financial terms and let the kids get on with their lives.  The people at greatest risk from all this are the elderly and the chronically ill who live in homes with school age children.  Let the doctors figure out the best way to protect these people and let everyone else get back to normal life.

Saving the sick and elderly is a laudable humanitarian goal.  But what can you say about a society that sacrifices the precious youth of a generation to marginally advantage the life span of the very old?  Do we duck and cover every year during flu season?  After all, the same elderly population is the one that accounts for 90% of the tens of thousands of flu deaths that occur every year in the United States alone.  Are we denying that people, especially the very frail and sick will die eventually?  Have we lost all sense of proportion?  And does that mean grandmothers and great grandmothers have forfeited permanently the right to hug and kiss their grandchildren and great grandchildren?  That’s pretty sad.  I guess I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I vote to end this madness and if I keel over tomorrow from COVID-19 or any other virus that the Chinese dig out of a cave I’ll go happy knowing I got to share a meal with my family and play a game of ball with my grandsons.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 5 – Reinvent the Matchmaker – First Thoughts

Two things are true about this particular item.  The first thing is I’m sure this is one of the most important aspects of trying to bring back family life.  The second thing I’m sure of is that I know almost nothing about how this would work.  I know almost nothing about women or dating or anything else having to do with human mating rituals.  I met Camera Girl by complete accident when we were both seventeen-year-old kids each separately skipping out on our separate schools and meeting at one of the most anonymous places in a city as large as New York.  It was at least a billion to one shot so no one should ever take relationship advice from me.

But I do know that kids these days and especially kids from whom their parents hope someday to receive grandchildren need a better way to find mates.  Sure, there are places like match.com and the like but this doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.  What is needed is some kind of sponsorship of social activities where the participants are vouched for by their families.  In other words, you want to keep the freaks out but still have a place for young people to meet.  Now this used to be taken care of by high schools and other teen age membership institutions.  But because college is the place where normalcy goes to die and because women now postpone marriage and childbearing until their mid-thirties, we’re in the place we’re in.  So, to my mind a new arrangement has to be formulated.  And the only ones who have the talent, the inclination and the opportunity are the mothers.  This brings to mind the scenes in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye’s wife is trying to arrange a marriage for her oldest daughter through the village matchmaker and picks a terrible husband that luckily is sidetracked by a subterfuge by Tevye.  And of course, living in these liberated times no one is going to allow his parents to pick a wife for him and vice versa but setting up opportunities for young people to meet likely partners makes perfect sense.  I will have to consult with my daughters to see if this is an at all reasonable idea.  They both have children who one day (and in some cases soon) will be marriageable.  I am interested to know if they’ve thought of helping along the process by some discrete manipulations.

But one thing that would increase the chances for more women to find husbands is for them to look outside of the college pool.  A young woman right out of high school could do much worse than finding a young man in one of the trades, an electrician or a welder and setting up a home instead of wasting four or more of her most valuable years sitting around a college quadrangle watching the soy boys playing frisbee.

I really have to do more practical research on this and this is just an introductory post.  I am especially interested in getting the mother’s point of view on the practicality of trying to influence the courtship decisions of today’s youth.  But I’m convinced that this topic is of extreme importance in trying to somehow revive the traditional family from inside the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah that we find ourselves trapped in.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 4 – Celebrating the Holidays Right

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been a time when Americans get together with family and give thanks for the good things in their lives.  For Christians this is a holy season when they contemplate the beauty of the Holy Family and its Christmas story.  But even for non-Christians and even those with no faith there is a recognition by many that this celebration seems to radiate joy and hope to those involved.  I can remember a few truly awful human beings who, even if for a short period around the holidays, were noticeably better people because of Christmas.  Even scientists have lately come to think that belief in God is organically present in the human mind.  And for those of us who were brought up during the happier periods before the Progressives destroyed the culture, the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas brings back thoughts and feelings of happiness and a sense of community that even found its way into Hollywood films and television shows of the time.  But just because the culture has descended into a depravity that derides or ignores the true spirit of these holidays there’s no reason for us to go along with it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the biggest chances to reconnect with your family.  You’ve got at least a few days off and the kids and grandkids are off from school.  Here’s a chance to talk to the kids about things that are important to you and find out what’s going on in their lives.  And for you older folks like me I’m also talking about your grown children and their husbands and wives.  Ask them about their kids and what is going on in their lives.  And if you have the means, ask them if they could use a few bucks or even a hand with some problem they are having.

And turn off the damn phones and shut off the computers.  It won’t kill anybody to lose track of all the nonsense we are plugged into 24/7/365.  And turn off the television.  There’s literally nothing on that won’t damage your brain and soul.  The only exception I’ll make is if you will pick a good Christmas movie (preferably black and white) or two to watch with the kids.  But once it’s over shut the tv and hide the remote.

Have some fun things to do together.  One of the things we like to do is play cards.  The kids play war and Uno and the rest of us play penny ante poker.  It’s basically just an excuse to sit around a table together and talk and interact.  And, believe it or not, in my family the women even bond over the cooking and doing the dishes.  I’m not saying they enjoy the dishes but it’s something they complain about together and provides a stimulating male/female antagonism that everybody enjoys.  But maybe that’s just my family.  But at the very least show appreciation for the hard work that went into the dinner and praise it to the sky.  That’s a sacred duty.

Go to a Mass at your church if you’re religious and even if you’re not put on some good Christmas music but please try to avoid any of the current crop of pop celebrities.  If you have more than a day off then plan something bigger.  If you know of a holiday show or a good play look into it and see if anyone would like to go.  Go ice skating or skiing if that’s your thing.  Or go for a walk in the country if the weather permits.  Just make sure you talk with every single one in your family and make some kind of connection.  Make some memories.  Sure, you’ll get them their favorite toy or gadget but make it more than that.  Tell them what you like about the holidays and find out what would make it more fun for them.

And something that brings family together is stories about your extended family and the world that used to exist in the better times.  Sometimes old photographs and other memorabilia are interesting to the kids and grandkids.  Hearing about how their ancestors overcame the difficulties they experienced and how the families pulled together is a good example for the kids and encouraging even for us.  Celebrate these great holidays.  It’s your privilege and it’s your duty.

 

30NOV2019 – OCF Update

So we’ve survived Thanksgiving and have today and tomorrow to recover sufficiently to stagger back into work on Monday.  Bravo, congratulations!

Looking ahead, The British General Election is a week from Thursday (December 12th) and by all accounts Boris Johnson will get his majority and the Brexit that it’s based on.  Supposedly he has all the Tory candidates sworn to a blood oath to vote for Brexit when they are elected.  As always, wait for the outcome but there may be some very good news for the English people by Christmas.

My article  “Reclaiming the Family – Part 3 – Recruit Grandma and Grandpa” seems to have been well received when I posted it on Tuesday.  I take particular pleasure in this because, from my point of view, advocating for practical and constructive action is greatly preferable to just spouting anger and predicting gloom and doom.  Not that there isn’t plenty to be angry and worried about but if you’re not going to do anything about it then just dig a hole and jump in.  I’ll try to expand the series when I have something useful to add.

Like everyone else I’m waiting impatiently for Durham to show some progress on his investigation.  Your guess is as good as mine on this whole thing.  We’ll just have to wait.

On the 2020 election things seem to be moving in the right direction.  The House is stuck with their impeachment fiasco.  Even the MSM has sort of gotten bored and wandered away from their freak show.  I don’t want to get too positive but it’s starting to look like the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate field is barren.  Even if Mrs. Clinton or Mrs. Obama “surprises” us by joining the race I don’t think that it will move the needle much at all.

So between now and Christmas there may be several very interesting stories developing.  Once I recover fully from the several hundred thousand calories I ingested this week I’ll diligently report on and bloviate about what I think they mean.

And of course I’ll faithfully update my Star Trek series.  The schlock shall not dry up.

Stay tuned.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – On Family

War Pig put up a comment on my Reclaiming the Family thread so I asked him if I could add it to his folder and so here it is for anyone who didn’t see it on the comments. – photog

We moved to California from Ohio in the 60s when dad got transferred from North American Aviation to Rockwell/Rocketdyne and went to supervise the making of the boosters for the space program. Mom took a fall at the ice-skating rink at the Topanga Plaza and had to have bone chips removed from her brain. Her father came out to stay with us kids until mom was back on her feet. Six months. Dad had to keep working to provide the health insurance and also to feed us and pay the rent (even back then California rents were horrible compared to Ohio). Since papaw was retired and his other daughter lived across the street from his home, he could leave mamaw there while he came out. He cooked, made us kids clean, took us to school functions and all the rest of the things mom would have done. He took us to visit mom at the hospital so she could remember us (she had temporary amnesia and did not know she was married or had kids, initially). She had lost twelve years or memory in the fall and skull fracture.

Papaw was always a hoot. He had a little larceny in his heart and was a lot more lenient than mom had been about what we did. He aided and abetted me and my brother’s carbide cannon incident, for instance. We had fruit trees in the yard and he’d go out and pick oranges and make fresh squeezed OJ for us at breakfast. He makes pancakes and biscuits using buckwheat flour.

Later, after the space program ended and massive layoffs happened in the aerospace industry, we moved back to Ohio. Dad got a supervisor job at a plant that made wheels for US military vehicles. We were close to both sets of grandparents. We kids worked on our paternal papaw’s farm and also rode with our maternal papaw when he delivered frozen chickens. Me and my brother loaded and unloaded chickens and papaw drove the truck. On the farm we drove tractors and other farm equipment and the pickup truck, too. We baled hay and straw and put it up in the barn. Me and my brother ate like starving Clydesdales but worked it all off on the farm or the chicken runs. Sis stayed with mamaw on the farm and helped her. At our other papaw’s house, she helped mamaw bake pies for the local restaurants while we helped papaw with the chickens.

Later, when I was a papaw, I took care of my grandson. My wife got to see and hold her grandson before she passed. Since I had no wife and was retired, I concentrated on being papaw for my grandson. I babysat while my daughter and her husband worked. They dropped him off for breakfast and picked him up after supper. All day we played and did things together. To the playground, fishing, walking in the woods. When he was school age, I picked him up from school and we goofed off or I helped him with homework and we had supper together. I would not trade my time with him for a billion dollars. This year he graduates college. Hopefully, I’ll live to see some great grandchildren.

 

Reclaiming the Family – Part 3 – Recruit Grandma and Grandpa

Reclaiming the Family – Part 1 – Bring Back the Dowry

Reclaiming the Family – Part 2 – The Family Business

At least going back a generation or more a pattern of behavior has become established in the colder areas of the country that once people reach retirement age they head south to Florida or Arizona and live out their days in a retirement community.  And I suppose if you are sufficiently wealthy this would not prevent you from supporting and staying in touch with your descendants back North.

But in today’s world of limited opportunities and constrained resources another choice is to use your retirement and the resources you have accrued to reinforce and enhance your family’s opportunities.  Think about how difficult it is for a family with two working parents to provide the opportunities and attention that their kids need to grow up right.  If they manage to check their kids’ homework and get them to sports practices and games that’s probably taking up their whole free time left over from work and sleep.

Now as touched on earlier in this series it is much to be preferred that children have a stay at home mom to take care of them and make sure they’re staying out of trouble but even then, kids should have a lot more of their family’s time and attention.  For instance, who says a father is the only one who can bring the kids to a baseball game or a museum or a movie.  Why can’t grandpa do that?  And grandma is about a million times better at babysitting babies than a 15-year-old girl who will spend all her time on the phone while the baby sits glued to Sesame Street.

With respect to school work many of the baby boomers are STEM professionals and can not only help out with homework but can provide real world insights to children on what career paths make sense and which are dead ends.  For instance, if one of my grandsons asked me whether he should major in computer science or intersectional gender studies I think I’d be able to give him a very clear answer!

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Even the tradition of having the Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house does more for bonding the family than an occasional phone call to Florida provides.  And it may provide the opportunity for a request for financial or other help that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

And what are you sacrificing if you forego the condo in Florida.  Playing shuffleboard with other old people that you don’t even know?  Missing out on skin cancer?  Sure, maybe your arthritis won’t hurt quite as much but don’t forget those alligators that are waiting to pick you off at the mail box.  And how does that stack up against teaching your grandkids how to fly a kite or telling them about the time their great-great grandfather shot it out with armed robbers from the running board of a car.

And there may even be a payback for you besides satisfaction.  When the day comes when you are against it and your time is up maybe there will be someone to shed a tear and say a kind word at your bedside instead of just a text message from up North to say goodbye.