On Being a Godfather . . .
As I was sitting at the table last night being instructed by JJ on how to eat my slice of pizza I had to wonder: how did I get into this predicament? . . . It began on a pleasant summer evening a couple of years ago. Bob and I were sitting on the stoop as we frequently are on warm days. Sarah and Eric came around the corner with a bottle of wine and a baby monitor so we could listen to JJ breathing in his crib. JJ’s parents and Bob enjoyed the grape (I am usually a teetotaler). When the bottle was all but empty, Eric (or was it Sarah?) said they had a favor to ask: Would we be Godfathers to their son? Bob said “yes” without another thought and my reasoned objections were waved aside by all three. What kid would want two wrinkled old farts for his Godfather? . . . So suddenly I found myself in church at the altar saying “I do” when the preacher asked did I promise to look after the boy’s future, etc. It was a sobering moment. Then not much later the family moved from Briggs Street to Camp Hill and I figured that was that. But no, JJ insisted on coming to visit a couple of times a week and has been doing so ever since. Maybe he is fonder of us than I expected (he was happy to see us at his party as I reported yesterday) . . . As it happens, JJ has lightened our workload by assigning us our tasks. Uncle Bob is called on when it is time to color or play ball or blow bubbles. Uncle Ronn works puzzles and watches train tapes on the TV. I am also pressed into service when playing on the computer. I have suggested that Uncle Bob could do that but JJ protests: He doesn’t know how to do it, Uncle Ronn. Actually there is another reason for getting me upstairs other than the computer: JJ can forage in the fridge, see what is in the candy bowl and look for “black cookies” (Oreos) or “cheesy chippers” (Cheddar Sun Chips) . . . I have been (unfairly?) maligned by Sarah, Eric and Bob: they insist that JJ doesn’t care when they say “no” to something because he need only ask Uncle Ronn who will say “yes” . . . Having a kid (now two, with the arrival of sister Cecilia) certainly changes one’s outlook. We never go anywhere or pick up a magazine that we don’t find something that the kids must have. Bob loves to buy presents and keeps JJ's treasure box filled with gummy worms, pretzels and other treats . . . Well, this experience is educational. I know most of the vehicles in the movie Cars by name. I have watched countless episodes of Kipper the Dog and can name a few of Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends . . . Of course I could ramble on for a few more pages about the devious tricks JJ has learned to play on us, but I will spare you. We know this can’t last. Although just four, JJ has already been swimming, skiing, playing soccer. He’s been to a Penn State football game, Disney World (the children’s rides sucked, but the adult ones were terrific) and danced on the piano at FAO Schwarz in NYC. And he has two loving grandparents just a few blocks away: Grandma keeps M&Ms on hand and Grandpa has an outside hot tub you can even use in a blizzard . . . At some point two grumpy old men are going to lose their appeal unless, of course, Mom and Dad say “no” to an Oreo . . . And be honest, how could anyone refuse an innocent face like that? . . .