Medina Journal-Register — There will come a day, very soon, when I will take on the role of family patriarch to three generations. My many years of wisdom will be called upon to help mold another impressionable mind into a fine and upstanding adult human being. Man, that kid is going to be in trouble.
When my boy got married last year, I started to think about the possibility that I may have to step up and act grandfatherly at some point. When I was growing up, I remember how my grandfathers were to me. Much of what I learned from both of them helped make me into what I am today.
Movies and television try to act like some kind of “grandfather tutorial” that shows you what the all-American grandfather is supposed to be like. When mom and dad just don’t get it, there is always your grandfather. He may not get it either, but he really doesn’t care if he gets it or not.
I had a lot of uncles growing up, and I was always fascinated with the interaction between my uncles and my grandfathers. In that respect, it was a lot like what you see on television and in the movies. The reverence was there on all sides, but the ability to apply what my grandfathers tried to teach was not always up to snuff.
Here is what I learned about being a grandfather from all of my combined experiences.
1) Grandfathers have all of the answers. The answers aren’t always right, but they have them all. When you want the right answers, you go to grandma.
2) Grandfathers love tricks and games. It took me quite a while to realize that my grandfather’s “dislocated thumb” was actually a trick. I guess you could say that grandfathers spend their entire lives building up little parlor tricks that terrorize and captivate grandchildren at the same time.
3) No one, and I mean no one, has better stories than your grandfather. Luckily, I did not have the kinds of grandfathers that told the same stories over and over again. Both of my grandfathers lived enough for 10 people and had some pretty cool stories.
4) Somewhere along the line, grandfathers lose all regard for safety. Me and my grandfathers used to do some stuff that, in retrospect, should have gotten at least one of us seriously injured.
5) Your grandfather’s world is one that he creates and that no one else, except grandma, can alter. Grandma is kinda like the OSHA of grandparents. Grandpa puts together a plan to entertain the grandkids, and then grandma spends all afternoon making sure the damn fool doesn’t set something on fire.
So that is what I feel like I will have to live up to some day soon. Both of my grandfathers, in their own special ways, enriched my life. I took a little bit of both of them and made it part of my life experiences.
The best part is that grandfathers probably do not realize that they have this kind of power over their young grandchildren. Anything my grandfather said usually trumped anything my parents said. If one of my grandfathers had tried to tell me that the world was flat, I would have unconditionally believed it.
With a grandfather, you get a filtered version of reality. Everything is boiled down to its simplest forms and then given back to you wrapped in a blanket of mystery. Your parents raise you, but your grandfather helps you to find that thing inside you that makes it possible to believe in the boogeyman and Santa Claus at the same time.
So now my wife and I start to prepare for that day when we start the process all over again. Someday there will be the pitter-patter of little feet around the house and the barrage of questions that come from out of nowhere.
I fully expect my wife to be on her guard to make sure that this damn fool doesn’t say the wrong things or do something completely stupid. But she can’t be everywhere all the time. Sometimes the logical grandma buffer just needs to be taken out of the equation. When that happens, that is when the real fun begins.George N Root III is a Lockport resident and potentially dangerous family patriarch. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.