Monday, August 15, 2011

That joy of his

I can't guarantee it, but it's possible there might be two posts today.  But that's all I'm going to say about that.

Grampie and Thyrza came over yesterday afternoon to sit on our new deck, take in the view, and just generally enjoy the day with us.  Grampie had it in his head that he was going to become best friends with our dogs, though he's rarely paid much attention to them in the past, and they've liked it that way.  Those walkers of the elders tend to take up space that our dogs think belong to them, and that's just not right in their eyes.  Jamaica, especially, doesn't like those wheely-things coming down the hall toward her, even though it's being pushed by an elder at a pace that would make a snail look like a torpedo.  Maica goes running for the safety of her kennel if she happens to get caught in the hallway just as one of the walkers is in the same space, because God Himself only knows what might happen to her if it got too close.

So it isn't surprising that our dogs weren't exactly responsive when Grampie suddenly got the urge to become their best friend.  For one thing, he kept calling Maica, Jemima.  Jemima was our yellow lab who died nine months before we brought our Maica puppy home.  So Maica didn't pay one bit of attention to that old man calling some random name, even in her general direction.  And he had to ask several times--yesterday--what 'that big dog' was called, though Jackson is almost 11, and Grampie's known him his whole life.  Jackson only comes when he feels like it on the best of days.  He's sweet-natured enough, is a  'wouldn't do nobody wrong'  dog, but he only obeys if he was already planning to do the thing anyway.  We've always called him our dumb jock, though perhaps now he's more like our dumb old man.

But Grampie was relentless, wanted to get a picture (which is his favorite--only--hobby) with the dogs, so I finally got a few pieces of old bread, handed them to him and called the dogs over so they could see the bread.  They were instantly at rapt attention.  Grampie was beside himself with glee, making them sit, tossing bread in the air for them, hiding the bread in his jacket so they wouldn't know where it was.  I took a few pictures, which completed the thrill.

Then we had dinner, which he claimed was "the best meal [he'd] had in a long time." And when I say he claimed this, I mean he told us more times than I can count.  The girls, who were working hard not to giggle by the end, finally said that if they'd had to take a drink of alcohol every time he said one of his "Grampie-isms" they'd have been drunk before we finished the meal.  Even Thyrza was chuckling at how often he complimented us on our simple meal of hamburgers, brats, fries and salad.  Wow, if we could please others so easily.

And that's my point.  Sure, Grampie's glee in such simple things comes because he's losing it mentally.  And yes, he tends to sound like a skipping record (though we'd have to toss any old LP that skipped so badly), so much so that at times we get tired of having to answer the same exact sentence five times in a row.  But his sentiments are so sweet.  His heart is so full of joy.  It does me good to be around him, to watch the unadulterated glee he finds in getting our dogs to respond to him.  His smile is so wide you can't help smiling back at him.  And really, it makes all the difficulties managable, that joy of his. 

I think of how I walk through my day, of how often I lose my temper, even in the smallest ways.  Most of the time there's no reason for it. At least, far less reason than that I'm losing my whole entire mind like Grampie is.  And I spend so much time worrying about how others (Beve, for example) can please me, rather than thinking about how I can please them/him.  In even the smallest and simplest ways.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourseves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had."  Philippians 2 : 3-5

1 comment:

Elle said...

I remember he was making a secret deal with Maica one night at dinner: "This is the deal now..I'll give you this piece of hamburger, if you'll go and lie down." He was so funny, and obviously she didn't stop begging!