Grandpa Never had a Mullet

Grandpa Taylor never had a mullet, although he may have once shot one in the woods behind the barn. Grandpa seems more understandable now, more on my level. I’m entering an age of understanding that my grandpa didn’t always own a pony and a red cart. He seems younger now, although he’s passed on.

Ross Taylor Boot up on Old Car

My grandpa Ross preferred cowboy hats over mullets

I saw an old friend last week and saw that he was taking his first grandchild, a beautiful little girl, on a walk Sunday morning, just like he once took his daughter on a walk before Sunday church service. He’s more fortunate than Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof who could only mumble, “God be with you,” to his daughter and grand baby as they left permanently, after he had declared his daughter, “dead to us,” after her marriage outside the faith.

So I asked my friend Terry, “How is it being a grandpa?” He said, “It’s wonderful.” It must be. All the wonder and joy without the fiscal and custodial responsibility.

Thom Lauren

My daughter Lauren with her Pop-Pop.

My brother-in-law, Tom Achey, has a first grandchild. Tom is not your father’s grandpa though. His haircut is older than his children, a mullet exceeded in age only by his 1963 Mercury Comet. And he usually has a cooler with him which was recently useful in his dutiful role of grandpa.

Tom Achey at Wedding

Tom and Deb were taking care of their legacy, Kayden, as their son and daughter-in-law joined in a wedding party and needed babysitting services.

Little Kayden was stubbornly resisting, annoyed that he was being put down to sleep. The playbook from Kayden’s mom Robyn calls for Row-Row-Row your boat. It is Kayden’s favorite song, but after 20 verses, it gets old to the ear of a 9 month old who won’t sleep. So Tom brings out the cooler. A grandpa can magically transform a cooler. Now it’s a bongo drum, and he plays for more than an hour. But now, the song is different, Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys. Tom and Deb go to bed exhausted, but life is good.

Baby Achey

Here’s Kayden working on the mullet with Mom and Dad

The things we once used for our pleasure, coolers and a song about a girl so fine she exceeded the sex appeal of Peggy Sue, Betty Lou, and Mary Lou, are now the stuff of lullaby’s and connecting with our legacy, our memories of our own children, our youthful parenting that maybe wasn’t so good at times.

Grand-parenting is the stuff of second chances, finding our groove, seeing life afresh in the sparkling eyes and ceaseless energy of new life. And a chance to bang the drum once more, with more resonance and purpose, grace and understanding, and sometimes when the crowd demands it, a little ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann.

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