Sunday, January 25, 2009

Carrying On The Noble Tradition of The Grumpy Carpool Grandpa

“I can’t talk to you right now, Grandpa,” said my four-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, from the back seat of the car as I drove her to her pre-school. We do this drive together every Thursday morning. As I asked her why she couldn’t talk, she replied in a matter of fact manner, “Because I have to be looking out for elk and deer.” She had been on a hunting trip with her Daddy recently and they never saw any actual elk on her trip, only tracks and elk "sign" (and you know what that is!) But Ellie, having learned from her dad the importance of watchfulness, let me know she had higher priorities than to merely “chit chat” on the way to school with grandpa. I could have felt a little taken for granted until I remembered what my dad used to do for his granddaughter shortly after his retirement from the restaurant business. I encouraged myself when I remembered that I am now carrying on the noble Bohnett family tradition of the under-appreciated “Grumpy Carpool Grandpa.”

It was the early 1970’s and my family had recently moved to Hawaii from Santa Barbara, California. My father retired from co-founding Sambo’s Restaurants, at the top of his game, only 45 years old. He had spent the last ten years of his life building up the restaurant chain from a single restaurant to a national chain now being traded on the New York stock exchange. However, I was more impressed with what I saw my dad do after he retired and moved to Hawaii. One of the things that I recall is how he regularly volunteered to pick up his granddaughter, Mimi, from kindergarten in his little orange golf cart-sized Daihatsu truck. My sister, Nikki, who was now a single mother, was unable to pick her up because of her job. She was employed as Sea Life Park’s dolphin show lady – an ideal outdoor, up-front kind of job for this attractive single mom in her early twenties.

So during that time, before my oldest sister, Nikki, remarried, Mimi in a sense became my parent’s fifth child, more of a younger sister than a niece to me it seemed. Of course Mimi, unaware and unimpressed with her grandfather’s mainland business accomplishments, was only annoyed that it wasn’t her mother or her father, Bob, picking her up from school. Once when my dad picked her up she just sighed disappointedly and said to him, “Grandpa, you’re the ‘mostest’ guy I ever see.” His response was something like, “Just get in the truck kid.” Even though the response to Mimi was a bit grumpy, still Dad never stood taller in my eyes than he did on those balmy Windward Oahu afternoons. Nearly forty years later, I can still see Dad, like it was just yesterday, scrunched into his little orange Daihatsu truck, driving off from Aikahi Park Elementary School with his precocious little granddaughter at his side.

“Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, ‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you but whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” (Mark 10:42-45)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel that way with my oldest son. And sometimes being grumpy with him, kinda puts the focus back on the task at hand. Other times it crushes his spirit. So I have to be careful.