One day when I was a young boy, probably between seven and ten years of age, my parents left me with my paternal grandparents for an afternoon while they went somewhere.
As I watched some kids’ show on television in the living room, my grandfather took out an album of old black and white photographs. He sat next to me on the couch and started to show me the old photographs and to talk to me about them. The only picture I remember was one of him and some of his family during harvest time, standing next to an old combine.
I was much too interested in the television to pay much attention to my grandfather. I didn’t really care about the stories he had to share about the old days. And my grandmother didn’t help at all. She actually told my grandfather to leave me alone and to let me watch the television.
So my grandfather slowly got up and put the photo album away. And that was it.
This is one of the memories that I regret the most about my childhood. As I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve come to understand just how very unfortunate it was that I was too engrossed by the television to receive the gift that my grandfather wished to give me.
I can only imagine the grief that my grandfather must have felt when he realized that he would not be able to pass on his stories about the old days to his dear grandson.
I know that it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t interested. But I do think that my grandmother should have known better.
In any case, it was the damn television that kept me from receiving the precious gift that my grandfather wanted to share with me.
My good grandfather passed away on December 21, 1985. It’s been a long time since he’s been gone, but I’ll never stop wishing that I could somehow have another chance to let him show me those old photographs and tell me about the old days.