Harris Blackwood: Future ‘Pa’ is ready for his grandest role yet

(I found out that I’m going to be a grandfather. This is my first letter to the little guy.)

Dear Little Unnamed Baby Boy:

We haven’t met yet, but I’m your grandfather. I’d like you to call me Pa. I chose that grandfatherly moniker because I always liked the way little Opie Taylor said it on “The Andy Griffith Show.” You also may not know that show, but you will. We will watch it in reruns together. You’ll probably ask me if something is wrong with the TV, because most of the shows were made in black and white.

I don’t know if you read newspapers, but I write a column in one. I’m sharing this with my readers. By the way, if you’re already reading, I’d appreciate you reading up on toilet training. If you could master that when you’re born, it would be really helpful.

I won’t hold my breath. Well, except when I’m changing your diaper.

You don’t know this, but I’ve been preparing for this job for a while. My brother didn’t live long enough to see all of his grandchildren, but I have been practicing my grandfatherly skills on them. I think they will give me passing marks.

I don’t want you to get here too soon, but I have so many things planned for us. I can’t wait for us to make pancakes on a Saturday morning. We will coat them with real maple syrup made by one of Pa’ s buddies in New Hampshire. We will watch Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons and we will laugh like silly boys when the coyote goes over a cliff.

One day, we’ll go to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and watch cartoons or great movies like “Mary Poppins” or “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

You also haven’t met Nana. That’s my wife and your grandmother. She’s even more excited than I am about you coming to be with us. She’ll make great cookies and play games and do all kinds of cool stuff with you, too.

She’s already buying clothes for you. A few years from now, you and I will go to the store and pick you out a nice sport coat, shirt and tie. I’ll teach you how to tie a tie. We’ll also learn how to polish your shoes on Saturday night and get ready to go to Sunday school and big church. We will learn about Jesus.

We will also sing a lot. We will sing all the verses of “The Wheels on the Bus” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain.” We’ll listen to good music by people like Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, The Tams and The Drifters.

You can laugh when Pa and Nana dance on the living room rug.

I hope you ask me a jillion questions and I hope I can answer them. I hope to take you places that are among the most beautiful in this country.

I hope you like peanut butter sandwiches, either with jelly or bananas. I hope to teach you why gentlemen hold the door for ladies and treat everyone with respect.

One day, I’ll explain that while I will be your Pa from the time you make your debut, I came into your mama’s life when Nana and I married. You see, you may not have my blood, but you sure do have my heart.

You’ll be tall, like your mama and daddy. After you become a teenager, I’ll be the grandfather you’ll never look up to.

But I’ll make up for that with lots of long, long stories.

I’ll be waiting for you.

Love, Pa.


Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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