The Grandpa Factor

A blast from the past

With the kids back in school we fondly remember summers past.

It’s summer and the kids are out of school. It’s time for the annual migration of the gene pool to the grandparents for a few weeks or a few days. Parents consider this an event of mixed blessings.

On the plus side, those little angels will be out of their hair for a while, the ‘there’s nothing to do’ whine is silenced, ‘can I have twenty bucks to go to the mall,’ will not be setting their parental teeth a grating, plus Mom and Dad can get back to their childless days, when passions could run wild on the spur of the moment without an audience commenting, ‘Dad what are you doing to my Mom?’

On the negative side, there’s only one thing: the Grandpa Factor.

Parents who live shoulder to shoulder with their parents, don’t have to worry about this too much as the process is more insidious and Grandpa is always on hand to care for the angels, as well as those house repair projects. A lifetime of familiarity has inured a level of tolerance. The Grandpa Factor is an accepted blessing.

When Elmer and Curly Sue amble into the Bakery in Rainy River, Grandpa’s wallet is lightened, but he gets tableside service for whatever donuts Curly Sue selects and carries over. The rest of the Grandpas with absentee grandchildren are green with envy. But with summer upon us it’s now our turn, particularly if you have a grandson.

Take Moose for example. When four-year old Moose III arrives, the Grandpa Factor really breaks loose.

“Let’s go to the Bakery. They sure got good stuff there,” enthuses Moose III on his first morning. Moose stops by the bank, cracking open a few bonds to make sure he has lots of ready cash. This is unusual as many consider Moose somewhat thrifty, but in truth, he’s just plain cheap.

Dressed alike, hats at the same angle they stride in the door and snuggle up to the debating table. Introductions are made all round.

“Now Junior, remember what I said, ‘What’s discussed in the coffee shop, stays in the coffee shop’. Nothing said here is for Mom’s or Grandma’s ears,” cautions Grandpa and then he starts up a lively discussion on the things every boy should know if he’s to become a proper man.

Moose lays it all out, things like insights into the female mind (high fiction), political rants (higher fiction), the finer points of fishing lies (expert advice), and close to the top of the list, how and when to pass gas properly.

“Go ahead pull my finger,” invites the Runt extending a giant hand. The Runt’s own grandchildren are fast approaching the age when they will need instruction in that area, so he’s practicing to make sure he’s an expert on all the proper nuances.

“ I already know that,” states Moose III as he rolls to one side of his chair and demonstrates his prowess, chuckling, “See, there’s a mouse in the couch.”

Moose beams and his chest swells with pride.And so it went, four years of hard-learned manners and decorum destroyed by the Grandpa Factor in a few short visits to the coffee shop.

Uncle Fester checked his watch and suddenly gulped his coffee, and lurched out of his chair.

“Gotta go. It’s my turn to hold the baby and if I’m late, Blossom says I lose my turn,” he declared in a panic to get out the door. Obviously not enough experience to be much of a ‘Grandpa Factor’ yet.

Next week it’s my turn, so everyone on his or her best behaviour, please. Corrupting my grandkids is my sole responsibility. I take it very seriously.