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" … I'd fly a kite over this world we know and transform it into one we recognize."

I'm thinking that there must be a simple room somewhere, one where the grandkids, The Muse and I, and our kids, too, might spend more than the gilded, terribly rare afternoon together. Two and a half years ago, amid the swirl of my darling daughter's wedding day, we spent the best part of an afternoon together in my first wife's backyard. This afternoon, the four grands, my two kids, and The Muse spent a few scarce hours together, and it was magic. We accomplished little besides the grandson's birthday party, which was out of our hands, and a quick trip to see if we could spot the sea lions haunting Willamette Falls on the swelling Willamette at Oregon City. (We did!) The wind was bite-y and brisk and the grandson, filled with sugar and adrenaline from being the recent center of attention, seemed in a typical six year old's sour mood, but the time seemed plenty sweet enough anyway. Sigh! Maybe after another couple of years slip by, we might find ourselves together again.

These days, grandparents often live far away from the lives they revere the very most. They exist as ghosts and fuzzy images on FaceTime TV, distant creators of custom-made jammies they almost never see in action. Heartfelt hugs begging for attention. Helpful hands tied by quietly cruel circumstance. Nobody lives on Sunnybrooke Road anymore. It's office "parks" now, and the old homestead, sold, barely paid for the dissolution of the estate and the otherwise unfunded elder care escorting the family heritage into the great somewhere.

I wonder where my grandkids will wander and what they'll ponder when they think about way back when. Their lazy summer afternoons spent somewhere other than grandma's kitchen. Their idle evenings seeking attention from their overworked moms and dads. The Muse insists that their adrenals just have to be stressed to unbelievable limits, jugging burgeoning responsibilities without respite, while the grands, or two of 'em anyway, wonder what to do with the end of their day. We live so freaking far away, making a living, as they say. Living for what and where? The oldest grand turns twenty next month. The rest are resolutely marching forward, if slightly behind.

My grandfather kept a barn with chickens, a calf, and a lamb or two. He'd lived there since '22, and my mom knew it as where she grew from a toddler into a wife. She moved in next door and bore three young 'uns, with grandpa right next door. I live a thousand miles and more away from those people I'm supposed to influence deeply in some mysterious way. We very occasionally manage to have a day when some of the blessed afternoon finds us breathing the same air. We re-introduce ourselves to each other more often than we say, "Good night." I'm frightful of the nights we were not there.

If I could figure how we might, I'd sleep on the sidewalk, I'd fly a kite over this world we know and transform it into one we recognize. We're all making it up as we go along, going along because we don't dare get left behind, leaving much behind us every day we live. The feeling only really overwhelms me on those days when we all converge, when the differences we experience daily resolve into some ho-hum, maybe, and we're really in each other's orbit. Then the absences slice and hurt. Then, the distances seem absurd, but gratefully, we're in each others' presence, so the cuts and wounds hardly resonate.

I'm thinking that there must be a room somewhere …

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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