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James T. Harris

Dream Of My Father

Sixty and still no grandkids

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Sixty and Still No Grandkids (A Poem by James T. Harris)

It’s enough to make him whine, sit and wonder why, sometimes even cry…
Sixty! And still no grandkids!
It’s enough to change his mood, to make him lose his cool, sometimes even brood…
Sixty! And still no grandkids!
But his daughter is on the move; his son will never finish school. They are breaking all the rules; nearly thirty with no good prospects!
So he sits in his big brown chair; angry, fighting despair; wondering where did he err?
Sixty! And still no grandkids!
I was in my mid-twenties when the “paternal” clock kicked in. No, not my clock… my father’s! 
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in the early 1990s, while I was sitting at my mother’s kitchen table eating my first round of her glorious, succulent, fried chicken (Yeah, I had it like that.), it happened. My father, who had been out running errands, burst through the front door and quick-stepped it into the kitchen.
“Yes, Pop?”
“Get up and get your a$$ into the car… now!”
“What? What-did-I-do?” 
“Nothing…that’s the problem. Get into the car… now!”
There was a sense of urgency in his voice. Something was up! So I wiped my hands and ran to the car. He was already getting in as I jumped into the front seat. He started the car in silence. He put the car in drive, and took off up the street. When we reached the corner, he turned left, drove to the middle of the block and stopped. He turned the car off, paused, and then asked me a simple question. 
“What do you see?”
I looked around and saw… nothing. I mean nothing out of the ordinary. To the right were homes, clean lawns, trees… what was I supposed to see?
“Look over there.”
To our left was a park, the park of my youth. There was a swing set, a slide, the monkey bars that I cracked my ribs on, and… kids… What? 
He repeated the question. “What do you see?”
I said, “I see the park. I see an old man playing with a bunch of kids… What?”
My father started the car. He put the car in drive and took off up the street. When we reached the corner, he turned left, and left again. When we were back in front of the house of my youth, he stopped. He reached down, grabbed the keys and turned the car off. 
Then he paused, sighed and said, “I want some grandkids. I want them soon and I want it done right.” 
With that pronouncement, he got out of the car, closed the door, walked into the house, closed that door, and left me sitting in the car… laughing!

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