Energetic Sam makes Grandpa feel younger

Energetic Sam makes Grandpa feel younger by Bob Karolevitz I don't know whether Sam-sitting our nine-year-old grandson over the weekend makes me younger or older.

Like lots of boys his age, he's a bundle of curiosity and excess energy. He's the closest thing to perpetual motion I've ever seen.

Everybody knows him. From the Sisters at the monastery to the old veterans at their hall, we heard "Hi, Sam" over and over again. He responded with a hand-shake and an appropriate greeting as he brought smiles to the faces of them all.

We took him to church and to a football game. He can be holier than thou one minute and a wiggle worm the next. I don't think he was the least bit downhearted when our team was outscored because he got his nachos at halftime.

I'm convinced that he has hollow legs. He was always hungry. At the VFW all-you-can-eat breakfast, he had two helpings while I struggled with my first. The volunteer waiters and waitresses were always at his side, asking if he wanted something else.

During his two-day stay we had hot dogs, fettucini alfredo (his favorite), a couple of candy bars and gosh knows what else. "He's a growing boy," a friend said, then she told about feeding her two sons at that age.

The only thing that slowed him down was television when he watched cartoons in the morning while I was still in bed. I finally got a glimpse of the monsters on the tube. I'd never seen them before. Long before we had TV, I was a Silly Symphony guy myself.

He came to our house with his Game Boy dangling from a strap around his neck. He played with it when there was nothing else to do. Unlike Phyllis and me, he seemed little concerned about the Taliban or anthrax. He was too busy.

He was into my stamp collection and jar of marbles. He took some of each after asking politely: "Grandpa, can I have these?" He said "thank you," too!

During the course of the evening, he gave Grandma a new hair-do, and they laughed a lot. He also got two Yahtzees as he beat her by a couple hundred points. Whew, I got a brief reprieve as they let me go to my easy chair.

The worst came when he asked me to play catch with his junior-size football. I quickly discovered how out-of-shape I am when he hit me in the bread-basket with a pass I should have caught.

He even told me how to hold the ball to throw a spiral; and Phyllis made things worse by standing at my side, saying she'd retrieve the pigskin when I missed so I wouldn't have to bend down.

They really know how to hurt a guy!

It didn't take me long to learn that I'm no Brett Favre. Julia Child could probably throw better. I finally made a lame (pun intended) excuse and quit.

That's when Phyllis loaded her bike into the pickup, and the two of them went to his place for his own two-wheeler. They drove over to Mission Hill where they rode up and down the roads in her old stompin' grounds and visited daughter Jill in her little house. He ate some more, incidentally.

Thank goodness I stayed home to recuperate. It seems that Grandma has more stamina than I have.

When it's all said and done, though, it was good to have Sam stay with us while his parents sold apples and jam in the malls at Brookings and Sioux Falls. I'm sure he would have helped them had he gone along; he's such a personable little merchant.

From his sojourn with us, one thing is certain. It sure made me realize that there are a couple of generation gaps between him and me. However, Sam hasn't got any adjustments to make. I do!

After two days with him, I'm worn out, but do you know what?

I think I feel younger!

© 2001 Robert F. Karolevitz

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