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Birth of Emma Grace brings back memories of her grandpa

POSTED: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Her name is Emma Grace Blackwood and she weighs all of 9 pounds. She has a head full of dark hair and she looks just like her mama.

Holding her was a throwback to the days when I had a little one that size. As much I enjoyed the moments, I had a little comfort knowing that if she got fussy, I could give her back to her mom or dad.

She is, or would have been, my brother Dixon's second grandchild. As many of you know, Dixon died in January after a nearly two-year battle with a brain tumor.

I can remember how excited he was 18 years ago when my daughter, Ashton, his first niece, was born. When his first grandchild, Samuel, was born, he was there and I thought he was a wonderful grandfather.

He was told before he died that Emma Grace was on the way, but he was so sick that his comprehension of things was fuzzy.

Our visit to see the new baby was one of those moments I missed Dixon so terribly much. He would have thrived on spoiling his grandchildren and doting on their every whim.

I remember how he loved to hold little Samuel, when he was about the size of Emma Grace.

I hope one day to tell them about their "Papa," a fun-loving guy with a quirky sense of humor. I want them to know about our lives growing up and about their paternal great-grandparents, who they'll only know through pictures.

As I rode home, I thought about the world that they'll grow up in.

In my daughter's lifetime, the Internet has arrived and cell phones, once the toys of the wealthy, now belong to everyone. The VCR, which we thought was pretty snazzy, has gone the way of the 8-track tape.

Samuel and Emma Grace will never know a home without a connection to the entire world through a computer. By the time they're old enough, there will probably be no such thing as a long-distance phone call.

But I hope that there are a few things that are deeply ingrained in them. Things like reading a good book. Not something read to you by a recorded electronic voice, but a parent or grandparent or a crusty great uncle painting a picture with words on the printed page.

I hope they learn the words "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am," "please" and "thank you." I hope they say them all of their lives.

We can only hope they grow up in a time when they don't have to follow in the footsteps of their great-grandfather, who was wounded while fighting for the freedom they'll enjoy.

I don't worry too much about the foundations of their faith. Their daddy, David, is currently in seminary to prepare for the ministry. Their other granddaddy is a preacher and missionary.

That's a lot of wishing for two little folks, including one who is so tiny and innocent. I know it's what I want for their lives and believe that it would be what their papa would have wanted.

And if any of you reading this get the call to eternity anytime soon, be sure and tell that brother of mine that he's got two really cute grandkids down here.

Something tells me he already knows.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.



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