Monday, December 17, 2012
Am I getting through......
I guess it's been a little longer than usual since we talked. I'll take the blame for that, but I have been busy. It's nice being close to you and Grandpa and I promise to bring you guys flowers before Christmas. I don't know where to begin this letter, but I figured it would be easy to talk to you. You always said that you were from the "old school," and it sure seems like this world could use some of that. It's no secret that I haven't been much of a fan of Christmas since you passed. It just feels like a reminder of the fact that you're not here anymore. A little selfish, but sometimes you can't help how you feel.
After this past Friday, I am sure there will be a few people who feel the same as me. I am not sure if you know or not, but a group of innocent elementary school kids were killed by a lunatic. Teachers did their best to protect them, but there wasn't anything that they could do. I remember when you would walk me to school from time to time. Back then I don't think anyone would even consider something like this happening. The small town removed their Christmas decorations and have been trying to make sense of the madness. I don't know if they will ever be able to.
I am not sure you would like the world that we live in now. Schools have plans in place in the event someone goes crazy and starts shooting. The only plans the used to need were tornado and fire drills. I remember begging you and grandpa for G.I. Joe toys and now kids beg for Facebook accounts and cell phones. I forgot, you probably don't know what Facebook is. It was meant to be away for people to interact with each other, but these days it seems more like a place for people to act more immature than school kids.
I remember you watching the news when you woke up and before you went to bed. These days the news is reported faster by the average person with a cell phone than any television network. I know, it's pretty scary. I don't think you would like the news. Negative stories seem to sell more and it feels like we don't care about "feel good stories" anymore. We are constantly being told about the economy being bad, wars around the world, and now children being massacred. I don't know if you would watch. Reporters frantically tried to track down parents and friends of dead children to get a story. I work in the media and have never been so ashamed. Human decency sometimes takes a back seat to better headlines. When did that become the norm?
You would say that "it's a shame," and you would be right. I don't know if it's the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary or the time of year that made me think about my childhood. I remember walking the streets of Cincinnati and we went to stores and were happy to have simple things. I am not sure that the new generation understands what simple things are? The world has become a place where we are judged by our material possessions. I am not sure that people know how to treat each other anymore. I remember you used to talk to everyone when we were out. I never understood why, but when I was at your funeral I met the lady who served you your cheese coney for lunch and the grocery workers who knew you from Kroger. It's sad, but I am not sure people in the world talk to strangers very much. People now a days would rather judge them without really getting to know them based solely on the way they look.
I remember we always tried to buy you knew clothes but you never wore them. I realize now that you always felt like there wasn't anything wrong with what you had. You wouldn't like the fact that we are judged by how good or bad we look. It's a shame. I am willing to bet that kids are more confused than ever. I had friends from all walk of life. Some were poor and others were rich. We were just kids and how we looked wasn't really a top priority. We played with sticks, we laughed, were home before the street lights came on, and sometimes we fought. We disagreed. We fought and we made up. We were occasionally bullied, but never once thought about shooting or killing the bully. Times have certainly changed.
You and grandpa put up with a lot. I remember the only time in my life that He spanked me. I must have really been bad because he was too much of a gentle giant to ever raise a hand. You wouldn't like today's world. People don't discipline their kids the same. Parental experts will tell you how to punish kids properly, and who knows they might be right. I am no expert and neither were you, but the world was a lot safer and kids understood the concept of respect when the "experts" minded their own business. Maybe there is something to be said for picking a "switch" from the backyard.
It is certainly a different world. There are people who are considered celebrities for reasons we will never know. When people need attention they post videos of themselves regardless of how ridiculous they look. You never even used your VCR. The world is different and even though you wouldn't like it, I would sure give anything to have you in it. I wish everyone would've experienced the simple joy that a little boy felt riding the bus with his grandma. The time spent together being worth more than any toy or materialistic thing. Coming home has made me a better person. I look at the world through eyes that have become more humble. I don't know why that is, but I have learned to be less judgemental. If I can, so can anyone.
Mom seems to be well and Diana is taking things day by day. I don't think I will ever look at the holidays the same. A little boy I met a couple of times lost his battle with cancer recently. He had this thing about paying it forward. I have been trying to do that. I hope you are proud of who I have become. I am certainly not perfect, but I haven't grown up yet. Seeing the city reminds me of all the good times that we had. I would trade all the presents in the world for one of those days. I might even make a video and post it on You Tube. It wouldn't mean much to other people, but it would generate a million hits from me alone. You probably don't understand what I am talking about and that's OK. We could learn a lot from the "old school." They certainly have plenty to teach us if we just take the time to listen and pay attention. Listen. Now that is an interesting concept.
I don't know if I have ever told you thank you, but I meant to everyday. I hope you and grandpa are in a good place. Please feel free to look in on me time to time. I have a pretty good life. I am still the little boy who walked to the bus stop at the end of Ferdinand Place. The little boy who ate two cheese coneys on a plate and begged for a quarters to play video games. The little boy fought with his sister, cut your grass, and somewhere along the way learned a little bit about responsibility. I am not fine, but I'm doing OK.
Your loving grandson