Recollections of Graham
First of all, know that I am looking through rose colored glasses; I am one of two men who were privileged to call Graham “Grandson.” All four of this young man’s grandparents were exceedingly proud of him. There wasn’t anything not to be proud about.
Some of my six grandchildren have established special relationships with particular members of their extended family. Those of us (me) who are not so honored just graciously accept the fact that in that lovely child’s mind, we are not number one.
Well, Graham had a special relationship with his grandma Polly. All the rest of us accepted that fact and we loved him nonetheless. Grandma and Graham were joined at the hip. Of course it was a mutual admiration thing. Usually Graham was quiet and gentle; Grandma always so. He loved his grandma’s cooking and she would move heaven and earth not to disappoint him.
Now I get to my favorite Graham story. One morning a nice group of us were finishing a hearty breakfast when the doorbell rang. It was Graham’s other grandfather, “Papa Tom.” He had come to pick up Graham’s brother Caleb (another special relationship). The two of them were going on a little outing together and one of their goals was to pick up a special dog biscuit for Stanley. Tom looked down on his youngest grandson and invited him to join them. (I think Tom already knew the answer.) Graham said no thank you, because he might need to eat soon. Graham said this while wiping the excess food off of his face. When Papa pointed out that it looked like Graham had just eaten, Graham told him, “Yes, but sometimes I get hungwy (hungry) real fast.” Tom looked down on the little fellow with pride; he could hardly suppress a chuckle. Little Graham had let him down lightly and had done it so beautifully.
When someone introduced the game “Apples to Apples” to our family Graham was probably in first grade. You think he would be at a decided disadvantage when it came to reading skills or life experience. If so, it didn’t hold him back. He loved that game and did exceedingly well at it. I still hear his excitement if he had a great card to throw into the pot, “I have the ‘puhfek’ (perfect) card.”
I wasn’t an eyewitness to this next incident but can sure picture it in my mind’s eye. Graham and his family were making a yearly trip to Seattle for Christmas. (God bless them!) Over the Rockies they hit some severe turbulence which did not let up. The plane was being tossed around like a ping pong ball. The landing was even rougher, and there was a lot of tension among the passengers and everything grew quiet. But as soon as the plane touched down safely on the runway, little Graham broke the tension with an enthusiastic, “We did it! We made it to Grandma Polly’s house!” After a brief pause, relieved laughter and cheering was the response of all who heard it. Graham’s Dad’s assessment: “Because of Graham’s enthusiasm I think there were a number of people on board who wished they, too, were going to Grandma Polly’s.”
I have spent many happy times playing games with “little Graham.” (He really started to sprout up this past year.) In the past couple of years the two of us played a lot of Lost Cities and Ten Thousand. When I was victorious, he was gracious in defeat but still managed to leave me with the feeling, “This kid still believes he is the better player.” In many cases he was. In so many ways he was becoming a formidable power. But he was doing it in such a lovely way. You guessed it: we sorely miss the boy and our hearts break for his family.