I sat down recently for a chat with my twin great-granddaughters, Hadley Ann Yarbrough and Harper Grace Yarbrough, on the occasion of their first birthday. I thought this would be a good time to share some of my life experiences and to gain some perspective on what their generation is thinking about the world in which they find themselves.
The conversation was delayed briefly while they smeared birthday cake icing on their faces and chewed on their presents, some of which were not intended to be chewable but, hey, that’s the younger generation for you.
After a few spit-ups and a couple of poops, the twins were ready to get down to business. I wanted to take it slow. As brilliant as these two seem to be, it is obvious they have much work to do before they master the English language. This is a challenge they share with their great-grandfather, who is still grappling with who-vs-whom and that “I-before-E” stuff.
I asked the twins how they viewed Donald Trump’s performance as president. Hadley Ann was ready for that one. “Blah! Blah! Blah!” she said with icing on her face. An interesting observation from one so young, however, when you think about the amount of time the Leader of the Free World spends on his Tweet machine obsessing over what some irrelevant jerk in Hollywood thinks about him, “Blah! Blah! Blah!” does seems appropriate. Out of the mouth of babes.
We were treading on dangerous territory here. President Trump’s supporters aren’t overly endowed with a sense of humor and take any perceived criticism of the man up-close and personal. “Pfft!” Harper Grace said and then spit up. They can’t say I didn’t warn them.
Admittedly, while they do have a few years before they can register to vote — and there is that whole learning to read and write thing that awaits them — I am curious as to what their political leanings might be. Hopefully, they won’t be wild-eyed, fire-breathing wingnuts on either side of the political spectrum.
I told them that I am not beloved by either side because I don’t like illegal aliens traipsing into our country like they own the place and making us learn to speak their language instead of learning ours. At the same time, I don’t like guns everywhere except under the Gold Dome or private school vouchers because legislators are too lazy to fix the problems surrounding public schools. I’m just not a wingnut kind of guy.
My all-time political hero is the late Gov. Carl Sanders, a Democrat. I also admire former Sen. Sam Nunn, another Democrat, as well as the late Sen. Paul Coverdell, a Republican, and Zell Miller, who started out as a staunch Democrat but ended up acting like a Republican. Clearly, my political tastes are ecumenical.
As I extolled the virtues of these great men, Hadley Ann smeared more icing on her face and Harper Grace began chewing on some of the gift-wrapping paper. I got the feeling they were not listening to what I was trying to tell them. I hope this doesn’t mean we are raising a couple of potential wingnuts in the Yarbrough household with a propensity for smearing icing on their faces and eating gift-wrapping paper. Wingnuts can be weird. You should see my mail.
I said my middle-of-the-road approach to politics should serve as an exemplary standard by which to shape their own political philosophy. They could certainly do worse than having their great-grandfather as their role model. “Blah! Blah! Blah!” Hadley Ann said as she applied more birthday cake icing to her face. “Pfft!” said Harper Grace. I take this to mean they have yet to be convinced.
As they were crawling across the floor to parts unknown, I reminded them that the future of the world rests on them and their generation. This is a staggering responsibility and one they should take very seriously. Life is about more than smearing birthday cake icing and eating gift-wrapping paper. They should thank their lucky stars they have a great-grandfather around to guide them on the perilous journey that lies ahead of them. “Blah! Blah! Blah!” said Hadley Ann. “Pfft!” said Harper Grace, who promptly spit up.
The twins may think they know it all right now, but just wait. One of these days they are going to have to deal with who-vs-whom and all that “I before E” stuff. Then they will discover the old man had been right all along. Pfft!