John Bressler-072911Listen to John Bressler read his latest column.
Julie and I find ourselves sitting in the Jacksonville airport, waiting to leave for California, and watching people. I see a couple kissing goodbye; he's in uniform and she's wearing a pink sun dress. She's crying and he's sad and trying to look concerned and in control. He's not doing a very good job. Over there by concourse C is a man, well dressed and perhaps in his late 50s checking out the folks who have just arrived and walking his way. He straightens his tie, sucks in his stomach and stares at a much younger woman dressed in a somewhat provocative outfit. She smiles at him as he places his arm about her waist. Make up your own story if you like.
I turn back to page 14 in my just bought Baldacci novel and glance at the clock one more time as I settle in for about 20 minutes when it'll be our time to go through security.
Yes, it happened again and Julie is having a big laugh as I go into the full-body scan. I try so hard to keep a low profile, but mom told me when I was a young whippersnapper, "You are cursed with the Bressler genes." I wonder if she meant jeans? I wonder a lot.
Food? The attendant just announced that orders would be taken so check out the in-flight menu. The list looked pretty good and explained, "Eat - Drink - It's your choice!"
I said, "I'll choose the salad!"
"Well, I choose the sandwich."
"How about the fruit and cheese plate?"
"Nope, I suggest you choose the cheese and cracker tray or "Nuts Aloft."
"I guess I'll choose the cheese and crackers."
You have to drive long distances in California. I am glad my daughter-in-law likes to drive on 12-lane roads, where everyone tailgates in order to pass everyone at first chance. We almost got creamed - twice - by the same car and I learned some words I believe I missed when I was in the Navy. Today's rush was to get to Sea World. We parked and walked some 500 yards to squeeze in before the real crowds arrived. "Crowded?" you ask. The park began to thin out around six in the evening and I could see the pavement beneath my feet for the first time all day.
This afternoon is scheduled for a birthday party followed by the 3D version of the final Harry Potter movie. Since I am a sort of fan, I brought my Professor Dingleberry robe, a wand and my stuffed parrot to sit on my shoulder. I am also a fan of those scurvy Caribbean Pirates. Julie pulled me aside, made me change to shorts and a t-shirt and told me that if I didn't straighten up, she would take my wand and change me into a toad. I think she said a toad. Now, I'm not sure.
We bonded once again with our four grandchildren, Cali, Codi, Chris and Britney, and we thank God for our wonderful time with the family.
I almost forgot to mention Bear, the family's 175-pound snow white dog with one yellow eye and one blue eye who must be chained to the couch leg until he remembers who we are. Otherwise, I may be his snack. Once he figures me out and he understands that I am family, he is unchained so he can sit on me while I scratch him. I will not talk about the 50-pound cat who sleeps with us.
We leave with such mixed emotions. It is truly overwhelming to look at these beautiful children we can call our own, and we worry about their future in the world we have left for them. We pray that we have given them enough good traits and strengths to carry them through the challenges and enough good times and good examples to help them keep us in their memories.
I guess that is the purpose of our lives: not to leave a collection of the past but to help this next generation prepare for tomorrow.
Have we done well? Only God knows. I truly believe that God will take over where we have left off. In God's hands, our children will do just fine.