LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
We heated with wood at the time but I never cut a stick. Jack and John would fight over who got to run the chainsaw. They’d take a lawnmower engine apart, put it back together, mow the lawn and try to convince you that they had the mower running better than it was before they dismantled and cleaned every single spring and needle jet in its carburetor.
After two years of working with teenagers, I moved into a management position at CAP’s central office in Lancaster. But, if anything, that only served to intensify our family relationship with the Edwards boys. They became our biological son Christopher’s big brothers. They fell naturally into the habit of calling me “Old Man” and Loretta, “ Mom.”
And so it follows that their kids naturally call us Gramma and Grampa and we feel natural in those roles.
Jack married almost straight out of high school so his first two, Chelsea and Cody, are grown and gone. We stay in touch with them on Facebook. Now in a second marriage, Jack and Nancy have 5 year old Ginger, who I call Ginger Tea or Ginger Bread or Ginger Snap, and she pretends to be terribly upset about it but she grins when she scolds me.
John and Celeste have three girls who call us grandparent names and we sure believe we are just that. Eleven year old Johnna, who I call Johnica June, is stoic and studious. Alyssa, 8, (Sissy Lou to me) has more energy than a football team and she can have an anvil in three pieces in less than a minute. The baby, 5 year old Shyanne, does not yet have a Grampa nickname because I’m having trouble coming up with something that is quite the opposite of shy.
While we don’t see Jack, Nancy and Ginger Tea nearly as much as we’d like to, we do get to spend a weekend afternoon and evening with John’s crew about once a month and the bond is tight. The grandkids simply keep us grounded and grinning, and I truly believe that they keep us younger than we’d be without them.