LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Piper got up in my lap and was telling me some big story that I can’t recall, because about that time Julius Randle threw down a one-handed dunk off a rebound. With involuntary jubilation, I jumped from the chair, scaring Piper into thinking I was having a seizure.
“Papaw, can we wrestle?” I knew that was coming, because that’s all they want to do when they’re around me. I must admit, I’m a good wrestler of grandkids. I make it fun.
I’ll have them go hide in the house. I’ll track them down, throw them over my shoulder and toss them on the bed for hand-to-hand pillow combat. I will grab them by the ankles, turn them upside down and tell them I’m going to shake their liver out. Lately, they love being tossed about by a giant exercise ball I have downstairs.
But they always want to wrestle at inopportune times, like after I’ve eaten a big meal or the Cats are mounting a comeback. Plus, they’re not little anymore and the wrestling becomes physically taxing. Sometimes I think they’re going to shake my liver out.
If I don’t wrestle on command, Piper will go tell Nana on me, and the Papaw Police comes in and gives me the age-old spiel about how the grandkids won’t be little very long, and how they’ll forget all about me soon enough, and how I should cherish every moment with them.
This is the same woman that used to sing “The Cat’s in the Cradle” to me when she thought I wasn’t spending enough time with our own kids when they were growing up. (If you’re not familiar with the song, look up the lyrics on Google and you’ll find it’s pretty poignant in that regard.)