New Grandson Rory was born at noon on Monday and came home at noon on Wednesday-yesterday. Here he and I are, still in the hospital, meeting each other. I think I was paying more attention than he was.
Now, I’m sitting in my son’s nice two-story house in a Dallas suburb watching how new baby Rory is an instant change –agent, more powerful than a new boss in any office.
In Defiant Honor, I awarded one of my favorite three-word sentences to Elizabeth McBee, who is the main character’s mother. She lives in Lexington, Virginia, a war zone. Her prodigal son brings home a pregnant woman, his new “wife,” seeking refuge for her. As the war drags on, two of Elizabeth’s slaves die violently. She is herself shot and carries an ugly scar on her temple. Her financial security is kaput. Her house is struck by a cannon ball, and invaded in the middle of the night by Union soldiers, one of whom she fatally shoots. Elizabeth McBee is a formidable grandmother. After all that, as Elizabeth comforts an odd young woman whose life has included even more unexpected turns than her own, Mrs. McBee hugs her and confesses, “I hate change.”
Don’t we all, at least every now and then, even if fleetingly, hate change. But life brings an endless series of unexpected changes. For better or worse, change is inexorable. Those poor folks who live where wars rage around them, whether in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 1864, France in 1916, England in 1942, Iraq in 2001, or the Congo, Syria, or Afghanistan right now, surely have it the worse. Wars toss all the rules out the window, and those whose land and towns become battlegrounds, suffer.
Yet, we can’t stop studying war, writing novels about war, and going to see war movies. We profess to hate wars, but we are addicted to them. Why? Beats the hell out of me, but I’m one of the afflicted.
Back to the here and now, Rory’s two sisters clearly love him, but we can already see the youngest sister, Violet, barely beyond her baby years herself, grappling with her changed status as the wee darling of the family. The first grader, Eva, is doing better, much to her parents’ relief.
This would be the place to shift into a post-election sermon about change, but I won’t. I’ve promised not to let politics seep into my blog posts.
I just took a break from the keyboard to cook bacon and eggs with granddaughter Violet. Her favorite part is cracking and dumping the raw eggs into the bowl.
Reminds me of the old quip about the chicken and the pig. When it’s time to prepare breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig, well, he’s committed. He’s all in, no more standing back to watch. I suppose the great American electorate decided to take on the role of the pig when we chose our next President. I mean, we’re all in, all committed, no going back. I just hope our new head chef keeps a sharp eye on the frying pan and doesn’t burn the bacon. Oops, I did preach, didn’t I. Sorry.
With the McBee Civil War saga a done deal, I’m briefly between writing projects. Which reminds me (yes, two ‘reminds’ in one blog post) of what granddaughter Eva asked me as we were waiting in the car drop-off line at her school yesterday. I told her that I had been a school principal once upon a time, and the astute first grader replied, “I know that. Why did you like being a school principal more than being a book writer?”
Since my sales have yet to reach to John Grisham or Jeff Shaara heights, I answered something about paying the bills. Then, it was time for her to get out. I went around the car, opened her door and helped her put on her massive backpack from which her lunch box dangled. With a guilty channeling of Forrest Gump, I called out as she trotted happily toward the front door, “I love you, Eva Rose.” And without turning she called back, “I love you too, Granddaddy.” What gets better than that to start a new day?