Saturday, April 18, 2009

Generational Joy

Rachel and David with Sam and Elizabeth visited us for a week over the Easter weekend. We ate steak and took in Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show in Ft. Worth. We enjoyed the Dallas Zoo. Of course, we showed off our grandchildren at church on Easter Sunday. The casual times may have been the best of all. Sam got introduced to “Stolpegories” (Rachel and David’s addition to the Scatergories game), and Sam won decisively at Monopoly. In good Stolpe fashion, we played a few rounds of backyard croquet. That took me back to when my Dad was the grandpa and our boys (and their cousins) were the grandchildren. After my Dad’s funeral in 2007, I wrote in my journal.

“My Dad had loved to play croquet with the grandchildren and could usually get through the last wicket first to become ‘poison’ and knock out the older players so the younger ones could win. After the visitation the night before my Dad’s funeral, the guests were gone, and we gathered around Dad’s casket. We stood in silence for some time. There was some crying and some talking about the people who had come, about memories shared. Into this conversation, David said, ‘Grandpa’s poison. He got through the last wicket first.’ We all knew what he was saying and laughed.”

At seven years old, Sam is just getting the idea of the route the ball must take through the wickets from stake to stake and back. Each turn needing more than one stroke. He would have been the one my Dad would have helped to win. But with Bitsy (Elizabeth) too young to play at all (at two years old), playing with David, Sam and me, just didn’t have quite the dynamic that a full contingent of grandchildren and my Dad did. Yet, I had some sense of stepping into the grandfather role my Dad had, which I believe his Dad had before him.

At two years old, Bitsy fit perfectly in the child’s rocking chair that was my Mother’s. We have a picture of her in it at four years old. When I used it my Grandpa Erikson extended the front rockers so I wouldn’t rock over on my face. All three of our boys used it. We know it is at least 85 years old and suspect that it was not new when it came to my Mom. It is oak, which may account for its durability. It has been many colors over the years, and without an original patina, probably has no antique value. As we watch Bitsy rocking, we speculated whether it could go another 85 years and be there for her grandchildren’s children.

The rising and passing of generations evokes a bit of misty nostalgia, but even more a profound joy at the mystery of the sacrament of the present moment.

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