By Hugh Chapman
My granddaughter and I have a special relationship. For those of you who may not know, my grandchildren call me PooPah. Though I can’t recall where the rather unique name originated, I can tell you it has brought a lot of laughter to our home and it has helped greatly to develop my four-year-old Granddaughter’s sense of humor. Just recently she told me her favorite new joke. “Guess what PooPah! Girls can grow up to be cow girls, boys can grow up to be cow boys, and PooPah’s can grow up to be cow poop!”
I told you it was a special relationship~
Today I was honored to buy Avery her very first bicycle! Well, I suppose I should explain. I really didn’t buy the bicycle for her. My daughter had phoned me on my way to buy groceries at the local big-box store and asked if I would pick up the bike and then hide it in my garage until Christmas. My daughter and her husband had already determined the one they wanted, but because both of their children had been with them the evening they first saw the bike, they had been unable to sneak it out of the store.
“It’s the smallest bike they have, Daddy,” my daughter explained over the phone. “It’s pink with white wheels and has some of the Disney Princesses decaled on it. And it has a little plastic seat on the back so she can strap her dolls on and take them with her when she rides. It will cost fifty-nine dollars. Can you pay for it please? And I’ll pay you back later?”
The description she gave reminded me of a time only a few years earlier when I bought my own daughter her first bicycle, and yes, as I write this I do realize it was more than a “few” years ago. Closer to thirty years, I’m afraid, but those years have passed so quickly.
That evening long ago Danielle had been even more excited as she described the one she wanted. “It’s pink and white, Daddy,” she had said. “It has two big wheels, one on the front and one on the back, and it has two more little wheels on the back so I don’t fall over when I ride. And it has some colorful stringy things hanging from the end of the handlebars and a little bell I can ring. Oh and best of all, there’s a bucket tied right on the front so I can carry all my things with me when I ride.”
As a father, that evening was one of the happiest moments for me of Danielle’s childhood, and now as a PooPaw I had the opportunity to relive the joy one more time. And as I happily made my way to the back of the store where the bicycles could be found I couldn’t help but remember a time as a child when my Grandfather, RB McCord, had bought me a bike.
My Grandfather had thirteen grandchildren, eight boys and five girls. While I don’t recall what gift he gave the girls, I can tell you that on our twelfth birthday each of the boys got new bikes. They were never the first bikes we had, of course, but they were always the best! Mine was a big old Western Flyer with a headlight on front, a red taillight on the back and a battery operated horn that honked. Several of the other kids in my neighborhood had those new spider bikes with the extended forks, banana seats, high rise handlebars and a sissy bar in back. To the cool kids, my bike must have seemed pretty old fashioned, but no one loved their bike more than I loved mine.
It was not so much the bike itself, rather it was the idea that my Granddaddy made a point to pick out the best one he could find, buy it for me and then deliver it to my house on the morning of my birthday.
And as you might expect, this morning, as I proudly carried what would soon be my Granddaughter’s first bike from the back of our local Wal-Mart, I felt the way my Grandfather must have felt each time he bought his special gift for one of us. It was a joy I had known twice before, first when I was twelve and my grandfather drove up on a sunny June morning with the Western Flyer in his trunk, then again when I had given my daughter the pink bike with the bucket on front. But somehow, this time as a Grandpa the joy seemed even greater. Maybe it was because it will likely be the last time I’ll be able to take part in what has become such a joyous family ritual.
I had to laugh at the checkout line when a nice lady asked me how I was doing. “It’s hard not to be happy,” I told her, “when you’re buying your granddaughter her first bike.” But then silently to myself I had to acknowledge that the gift wasn’t really from me, it was actually from my Granddaughter’s parents.
“Oh well,” I found myself musing. “Maybe I’ll be lucky and they’ll forget to pay me back the 59 dollars!” Avery will never know the difference, but I’ll find joy in secretly knowing I had a small part.
A PooPah can only hope!
Tags: Grandparents, Grand daughter, Christmas, Gifts, Christian, Christian Short Stories, Jesus, God, Love, Bible, Family, Hope, Salvation