I seem to be reading two or three books at once lately. I put library books on hold, sometimes waiting in line behind twenty other people before my turn with a book comes, then two or three of them are suddenly available at once. I am STILL putting "Harry Truman", written by his daughter, on the back burner simply because I own that book, while I only get the library books for a limited time. I've had two library books to read this week: John Grisham's "Rogue Lawyer", which I read in three days' time, and "The Oregon Trail", in which a couple of brothers decide to get a team of mules and a wagon and follow, as nearly as possible, the old Oregon Trail.
This morning after doing the preceding blog entry, I went back to reading "The Oregon Trail". It's funny how life presents appropriate things at just the right time. This is something I just have to share because of the connection to my own thoughts this morning, and if I don't do it now it won't get done.
A covered wagon, in this day and age, draws a lot of attention, and the brothers in this book often found that word of mouth had let folks along the way know they were coming. Families would be waiting outside their homes with children, offering the men sandwiches, and the mules, carrots or apples. The author says, "I began to notice something interesting about the families. At several homes, the parents, or the people who appeared to be the parents, weren't the right age. They were in their late fifties or early sixties, sometimes even older, and the children called them 'Mom-mom' or 'Pappy.' There seemed to be a lot of grandparents caring for their grandchildren out here in Kansas."
Finally Mr. Buck asked a man if the kids with him were his grandchildren. "Right, they're our grandchildren," he said. "You're going to see a lot of families like ours out here, and anywhere in the Midwest. It's meth."
That man told the story of how his son and his girlfriend went down the wrong path, and how he and his wife went to court to get custody of the kids. Now here's the part that stood out to me:
"It completely changed our lives, but we're actually real happy to be raising children again," the man said.
The gentleman decided against retiring from his job, but his wife retired early. She had worked all through the childhood of her own kids, regretted it, and wanted someone home every day when her grandchildren returned on the school bus.
Here's my favorite quote: "I wish every couple had a chance to do this," he said. "You do a lot better job raising your grandkids than you did with your kids, and we're too busy to be lonely."
So obviously, we're not the only old folks to have these feelings of "changed lives" after getting to spend regular time with a child.