I was jostled awake earlier in the morning than I could ever recall up to that point in my life. It was still dark outside, but my groggy eyes brightened when I realized that today was the day that my daddy was taking me on a fishing day—just me and him. It was a summer day in 1953 and I was only 5 years old, but I still remember my dad tying off the long cane poles to the side of the car with the colorful bobbers bobbing in the wind as the car drove to our Lake Lansing destination. I still recall stopping for breakfast that morning—a very rare treat because we almost never went to a restaurant at that time. I remember the fun of catching perch and blue gill. What I remember most, though, is stopping by the home of my dad’s friend, Art. Art was a crusty, brusque and earthy man. I still recall being fascinated by his cigars. I loved the smell of the smoke and the brown curls that rose to the ceiling before evaporating from my sight. It was this invitation to the grown-up world of men that I remember most. I was allowed into that inner circle of men who seemed to know anything that mattered—men who called me “champ” and included me in their joking, their chatter and their banter. My dad had made me part of who he was and what he loved. At the end of our fishing trip I remember skipping into the house. It was a day I would always remember.
This weekend the roles were reversed. It was I who was jostling a young one to wake up for a long-awaited outing. I was waking up my grandson. It would not be for fishing. Instead it was for assisting me at our KCdigiSTORY Center booth at the KC Maker Faire. He would be in charge of introducing our booth visitors to Google Cardboard and the fun of 3-dimensional virtual reality experiences. We stopped at Panera’s for breakfast—a frequent ritual for me, but a rare joy for Jared. He was excited to be in charge of something that showed off his digital savvy. He engaged visitors with energetic delight. He bantered with the grown-ups and traded talk on all things digital. He took special joy in counting the bills in the cash box and periodically pronouncing our progress in sales throughout the event.
I don’t recall ever feeling quite so close as this with my grandson. And I think he felt the same about the experience—
I noticed when we returned home that he skipped into the house.
As for me, I may have called him “champ” once or twice