I’m not sure I will ever qualify for the heaven owned and operated by God, but I have been to the Lego store in Rockefeller Center in New York. That was about as heavenly an experience as this sinner could ever hope for.
Cameron Charles Yarbrough, who gives special meaning to the word “great” as in great-grandson, is a Lego fanatic. You name it and he has built it. Maybe twice. For reasons perhaps known only to him, he recently constructed a Lego version of the Sphinx. Just what every family needs — a Lego Sphinx.
Cameron recently turned 10 years old and I figured the best way to reward him for the joy and happiness he has brought to my life was to take him to New York to visit the epicenter of the Lego world. The trip would include his first airplane ride and his first excursion outside of the South, unless you count his major tête-à-tête in Washington last summer with Georgia’s senior senator, Johnny Isakson. (The lad does get around. When I was his age, I was still learning to tie my shoes.)
I contacted the Lego public relations people to see if it might be possible for someone on staff to at least acknowledge his presence in the store, nothing more. After all, we are talking about a very busy shopping day in New York during the Christmas season. They do have other things to do.
My contact with them was the first step in what was to become a trip of a lifetime for the little boy and his great-grandpa. Not only would they welcome Cameron, the store manager would be there to greet him. A table would be set up for him to build as many Christmas ornaments out of Legos as he could in 30 minutes. For each one he finished, the company would donate three toys to children in need, this as a part of their worldwide #BuildToGive program, which has a goal of giving 500,000 children in the need the chance to play this holiday season.
They were true to their word. Cameron Charles Yarbrough knocked out 15 ornaments in the prescribed time while hundreds of people waiting in line to get into the store looked on through the window. He was oblivious to the crowds. To his credit and the credit of those in charge of raising him, Cameron’s biggest takeaway from his trip to the Lego store in New York is that he had helped make Christmas better for 45 children in need. You’ve got to love that.
Just to be on the safe side, Cameron and I invited his grandfather and his father, (who also double as my son and grandson) along for the trip. It was in our own self-interest. One was assigned to keep him safe in the hustle and bustle of New York. The other was there to keep me from falling on my tush. I have been to New York innumerable times and even had an office there for several years, but that was before my septic shock episode and the resultant tottering around with a cane.
This was as close to a perfect trip as one could dream of and I doubt Cameron Charles Yarbrough will ever forget that day. That was what it was all about — making memories. For both of us. I am a couple of generations removed from him, but I hope he will look at his great-grandfather as someone to emulate (at least the good parts) and that something I said or did will inspire him to achieve greatness long after I am gone.
I thank the good folks at Lego’s Rockefeller Center store, including general manager Chad Ketterling, who gave us more time than I suspect he had to spare on a very busy Saturday morning as well as the professionals at San Francisco-based FlashPoint Public Relations, especially Vice President Karen Nolan, who appreciated the significance of this trip and who made it happen and Delta Airlines for getting us up and back on time and with a minimum of hassle.
I thank Cameron Charles Yarbrough for not being overwhelmed with what could have been an overwhelming experience and who did his part to help Lego spread Christmas joy to children in need. They made a great team.
And, finally, I thank you for letting me share this special day with you. This may be as close to heaven as I ever get, and I wanted you there with me.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column regularly appears Saturdays. Contact him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com; or on Facebook.