Kids are funny.
My granddaughter, now five, will ask me “Guess what?” with a mischievous grin.
Okay, I’ll bite.
“Chickenbutt!” she’ll say.
And she’ll laugh and laugh and laugh.
It’s become a running joke between the two of us.
As you can tell, my granddaughter has a good sense of humor, but she’s also very sweet. Earlier today, she went to the pantry and got two Fruit Roll-Ups. I thought they were both for her, so I told her to put one back.
“But this one’s for grandpa,” she told me, meaning my father. “I’m going to show him how to eat it.”
Her big heart also extends to her great-grandfather’s dog. Whenever the mangy creature is by himself, she’ll carry him over to join us.
”He doesn’t like being alone,” she’ll explain.
Lately, she’s been watching a cute cartoon on Netflix called Chip & Potato. It’s about a kindergarten-aged puppy who has a secret friend, a mouse she calls Potato.
“Grandpa,” my granddaughter said, lifting her head up from the iPad she was watching. She used to call me daddy because that’s what she heard my daughters call me, but now she calls me grandpa. Or by my first name. Or kid. She has a lot of names for me.
“Yes,” I answered.
“If I see a bad mouse, I’ll scream,” she told me, “but if I see a good mouse, I’m going to call her Potato.”
I was touched by that, so I thought I’d buy her a Potato stuffed animal. I didn’t want to drive around looking for it, so I went to the Target website on the internet. They didn’t have one, so I went to the Walmart website. They didn’t have one either. Hey, if Walmart doesn’t have one, they don’t exist.
Only they do.
On Ebay, I found homemade Chip & Potato dolls. For FIFTY bucks. PLUS shipping. I checked on Amazon. Theirs was $124.00!
I love my granddaughter, but that was way past my price-point. Which, since you ask, is five dollars. For my granddaughter I’d up that to twenty.
“Are you going to buy it for her?” my beautiful wife asked me.
“No,” I said. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
You know, for such a tiny woman she sure can punch.
On Saturdays, my granddaughter and I will go to Las Fuentes, my father’s favorite restaurant, and buy him enchiladas for lunch. This past weekend I thought he’d like something different, so we bought him menudo instead.
“They didn’t have enchiladas?” he complained.
I bypassed his complaint by telling him the menudo was from his great-granddaughter.
“She always remembers me,” my father said, smiling. “You know what your brother gives me? Cookies. HARD cookies. What teeth I have, he wants me to lose.”
The Saturday before Christmas, on our way to the restaurant, we bought my father a holiday tin of cookies for dessert. Shortbread. You know, SOFT cookies. After putting in our special order for gourmet enchiladas, we usually go over to the Friends of the Public Library Bookstore to look around. The ladies who volunteer there love to see my granddaughter and she loves to see them, plus she generally makes out like a bandit. One lady in particular is especially smitten with her. When her mother passed away, she brought some of her mother’s jewelry, necklaces mostly, to sell. When we got there, she told my granddaughter to pick whichever necklace she wanted. My granddaughter’s eyes grew wide. She couldn’t believe her good fortune. To this day, she wears that necklace whenever she dresses up like a Disney princess.
I don’t know if my granddaughter was thinking about the kindness and generosity of these ladies, but before we got out of the car, she looked at me and asked, “Can we give my friends the cookies?”
I told her that was a good idea, and it was. I felt bad that I wasn’t the one who came up with it, but I’m usually a day late and a dollar short when it comes to things like that.
Sadly, as every parent and grandparent knows, children also come with their share of heartbreak. As it turns out, my granddaughter suffers from asthma. If her asthma gets too bad, she could end up in the hospital, which has happened.
In such situations my father always has some story he insists on telling us about a child who has died. I think he means it to be comforting, but I’d rather not hear those kinds of stories. The last time my granddaughter was in the hospital due to complications with her asthma, my father told me the sad story of Laurel Griggs, a 13-year-old actress who had recently died from a massive asthma attack. I can’t imagine her family’s pain.
“Consider yourself lucky,” my father said when OUR little girl finally came home from the hospital.
My wife gently took hold of my arm to keep me from saying something I’d regret.
You know, for such a tiny woman she sure leaves bruises.
Still, it’s best to concentrate on the good things in life. I took both my granddaughter and my youngest daughter to the movie “Cats” when it was playing in theaters awhile back. Why it wasn’t a hit, I don’t know. Well, maybe I do. My daughter took a ten-minute nap while watching it. Me? I loved it.
“Grandpa’s crying,” my granddaughter whispered, ratting me out to my daughter and anyone else within earshot when Jennifer Hudson sang the show-stopper Memory.
I leaned closer.
“Snitches get stitches,” I teased, making my daughter laugh.
On the drive home, I asked my granddaughter, “Did you like the movie?”
“Yes,” she told me.
“What was your favorite part?”
Jim and Henry Duchene may be reached at email@example.com.