I am going to be a grandfather.
I got the call from my daughter Katie and her husband, Robert, just recently. They are in Germany, where my son-in-law is a sergeant in the U.S. Army.
The kid? When he gets here in April he will be dubbed Connor Ray Duncan. Me? I’ll be dubbed Gramps. Or Grandpa D. Dare I suggest Grandpa Big Chuck? Actually, I kind of like that one.
I’ll be 65 years old next year when the kid is still in his first onesie. And although Katie and Robert are in Germany, they’ll soon be relocated back to the States in time for Connor’s arrival.
I wonder what kind of a boy he will be. And what kind of grandfather will I be? This will be my greatest role.
Katie will no doubt be the perfect mom. Robert will take care of the “guy” stuff. He’ll teach Connor to hunt and fish, to appreciate the woods and waterways and to cheer on his favorite Georgia sports teams. And he’ll show him how to fix things, like leaky faucets and squeaky car brakes. Robert is brilliant at all that. And I’m thankful because I come up empty in all those departments.
But I have some plans for little Connor when I get my own time with him. I want to tell him about history and books and music and great films and art and museums and politics and cemeteries. Yes, cemeteries.
Cemeteries are where I have done some of my best work. Thinking-wise. They are old, beautiful and contemplative places that I have always loved to be embraced by. I can’t think of a better thing than to take young Connor by the hand on a crisp upstate autumn afternoon, put on a tweed jacket and cap and take a stroll through an old country graveyard. I’ll tell him stories about growing up in those ancient black-and-white days of my own childhood. I will tell him my own life’s tales. I’ll make him laugh and make him think. I hope he will say, “Tell me another story, Grandpa Big Chuck.” But probably he’ll just fall asleep in my lap. And that is OK.