“The Things We’ve Handed Down”
Don’t know much about you
Don’t know who you are
We’ve been doing fine without you
But, we could only go so far
Don’t know why you chose us
Were you watching from above
Is there someone there that knows us
Said we’d give you all our loveWill you laugh just like your mother
Will you sigh like your old man
Will some things skip a generation
Like I’ve heard they often can
Are you a poet or a dancer
A devil or a clown
Or a strange new combination of
The things we’ve handed down
I wonder who you’ll look like
Will your hair fall down and curl
Will you be a mama’s boy
Or daddy’s little girl
Will you be a sad reminder
Of what’s been lost along the way
Maybe you can help me find her
In the things you do and say
And these things that we have given you
They are not so easily found
But you can thank us later
For the things we’ve handed down
You may not always be so grateful
For the way that you were made
Some feature of your father’s
That you’d gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us
And say that you were cursed
But over time that line has been
Extremely well rehearsed
By our fathers, and their fathers
In some old and distant town
From places no one here remembers
Come the things we’ve handed down
Some time before I got married Marc Cohn released True Companions. In between the wedding and our first born, he released The Things We’ve Handed Down. To say that these two songs captured the dreams for my life ahead and my feelings about those two moments would be a serious understatement.
One of the dilemmas I always have to deal with when writing a blog post is that I think about it first and identify these things I want to say, then I sit down to write, and half of what I wanted to say disappears. Part of what made me contemplative today was that we had a party yesterday to celebrate the younger son’s high school graduation. It was a joint party with a friend of his. Somewhere around 60 people spent a few hours eating, drinking, and celebrating the end of one chapter and the beginning of another for these two incredible kids.
As we approached the party, I realized something. A dozen years ago, we moved into our current house. The first order of business was to put a pool in. This was a part of the Queen Midget’s family picture that was just going to happen. For years, the pool became the center of a lot of the days of our lives. A place to flop and float after a day at a baseball field or a morning of yard work. A gathering place for some of the neighborhood kids. Family get-togethers. Summer evenings with old friends and new. .
As the kids got older, however, the pool became an afterthought. The last few years, it has been largely ignored, except by the guy who has to maintain it. Me. People who had pools warned me of this — that for whatever reason, older kids just kind of lose interest in the pool. Sure, we’ve had a few parties and get-togethers every summer, but the regular use just hasn’t been there for some time. It’s pretty much disappeared in fact.
Yesterday’s party may very well be the last of its kind in the Midget realm. If I have my way, we’ll be downsizing at some point in the next few years. When the kids are established at their colleges and it looks like they will be on their own, more or less permanently (hey, a guy can dream), I hope to have a smaller house with a smaller footprint. Maybe even a condo. I have more important things to do with my free time than continue to be a slave to the yard and the pool and the building that is our home.
So, for one more afternoon, kids did cannonballs, the adults sat in a corner and drank and talked, and, yes, at one point in the evening, I just might have done my own cannonball into the pool. Which may or may not have looked something like this…
(Actually, that’s from a few years ago. There were no cameras preserving the evidence of last night. My apologies for sharing my white underbelly with you.)
And, which may or may not have drenched my sister-in-law. 😉
And it was good. People were happy. Oh, wait, here’s something else I wanted to mention. My younger son is a fascinating study in contrasts. He’s in FFA at school. Has been for the past four years. So he hangs out with a lot of farmer and rancher types. Which in our part of the world, means a lot of the conservative, redneck type. But, then, he’s Jewish and has a lot of friends from the synagogue — almost all of whom are of the liberal persuasion. So, between he and his friend (who is also Jewish), there were probably equal parts redneck and liberal in the kid category. And it was all good.
It was all good. The kids had fun, the parents did their thing as the sun set on the day and on this.