Pappy’s in town
By Robin DearingSometime in July we are usually visited by my husband's father, Bill Sr. Although he's later than usual, Sunday saw the arrival of Margaret's Pappy. He comes to Grand Junction from Barker, New York, which lies north of Buffalo. Pappy drives through Grand Junction on his way to his gold claim in California ... really, I'm not making this up. He really has a gold claim outside of Yosemite. And Margaret really does call him “pappy? • a McCracken family tradition. (The term “pappy? reminds me of the old Popeye cartoons, so I have my own nostalgia about the name.) Margaret•s excitement over having her grandfather here reminds me of the importance of grandparents in a child’s life. I grew up with both my grammas within bike riding distance. One always had a fridge full of Pepsi in tall glass bottles (a memory that was revived over the weekend while in Salt Lake City. It seems that some Mexican restaurants will import soda from Mexico in those same glass bottles … I had two sodas because I love the bottles). The other gramma had a swimming pool. Needless to say, I saw a lot of my grammas growing up. I would ride my bike to their houses and hang out with them, go shopping and, of course, spend all holidays together. Margaret won’t have those memories. We don’t have family here. The closest family we have are in Denver and while it seems like we would make the trip more often than once every three years, we don’t end up over the divide much. So for Margaret, her time with her grandparents is during those intense trips when we try to pack all kinds of fun things into too short of a time, trying to allow her the chance to know who her parent’s parents are and give her a sense of who she is in terms of her own family. But we’ve also created an adopted family of friends with whom we share holidays and birthdays. We’ve created our own — mostly unorthodox — traditions that mostly revolve around good food and lots of laughter … just like a real family (OK, there’s way less yelling and no crazy uncle). I would love to live closer to our families, but we’ve decided to raise our daughter here in the Grand Valley and we just can’t get our bi-coastal family to follow us. But I’m thankful that my daughter has gotten to know all her grandparents on special occasions and that she has an adopted family for everyday use.