A Kid, a Grandma and Some Wisdom from Sammy

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

The kid looks about ten-years-old, He's leading a very old lady, I assume his grandma, across the crowded restaurant. The lady is obviously having difficulty seeing and appears to have some balance issues as well. The boy has her firmly by the arm while he keeps an eye out to shield her from bumping into the noontime bustle of customers and service people.

I watch him guide his grandma towards the restrooms at the rear of the restaurant. The Men's Room and the Ladies Room adjoin one another and, at first, the old lady starts towards the men's room. Gently, the boy nudges her towards the appropriate restroom then waits outside while she enters.

The kid skooches himself against the wall, trying to make himself as inconspicuous as possible as he waits outside. Patrons go in and out of the facilities on both sides of the aisle. The old woman seems to be taking a long time and the boy looks a little self-conscious, kicking his feet and hands around, boy-like, as he stands there at his post. Eventually, she comes out and the boy leads her back to her table.

Simple story right? Deserves an AWW! from those of us not too jaded by life. The ten-year-old boy has been taught well by his parents. Good for them and good for him.

Little acts of kindness like that always touch me. To tell the truth, the incident put me in a better frame of mind the rest of the day.

I was trying to put myself in the place of the boy's grandmother, too. Not many years ago, she was probably leading her little daughter or son to the restroom in some long forgotten restaurant, the little kid grasping his crotch and asking Mom to hurry up before he had an accident. Now, how many years later, the mom grown old was being gently guided by one of her grandchildren. The cycle of life goes on and we hardly notice the years passing us by.

When I was interviewing for my position of Grandpa at the Children's Village, I recall asking Lia Rowley, the founder of the Village, "What will happen when we grandparents become too old to volunteer or incapable of volunteering with the kids? Lia thought for a moment, then she said. "Well, when that time comes, maybe the kids will have to take care of their village grammas and grandpas." That's part of living in a village.

Reflecting on her words, I could envision a time in the future when one of our little munchkins knocks on my door with a tray of food or offers to take out the garbage for me. It's not far fetched. Much as we all hate the thought of finding ourselves dependent on others, not too many of us die with our boots on.

Putting myself in the shoes of the aged grandma, my good mood was going south, turning towards melancholy city. I turned to my four-legged therapist, Sammy and began to tell her all about it. She listened without even once interrupting me. Then, lifting those big brown eyes at me, she reminded me that life is lived in the present. "C'mon Grandpa Hank, you are one lucky old dude to have the opportunity to help take care of the kids TODAY. That's all there is, you know. Use your time and be grateful. The future will take care of itself." Then, she added with a wag of her tail, "Besides, it's time for my walk."