When three of my grandchildren acquired a half-grown mongrel I agreed to help them build a dog house. As we began the project, I knew that keeping them involved was going to be a challenge. Much of my energy was spent calling them back to the job and finding parts of the project that could be handled by small children. I held to my initial determination that building this dog house was to be a group project.
Early in the project I had promised the grandkids that we would roast wieners in the back yard as soon as we finished painting the canine residence. Selecting three of the largest house-painting brushes I could find, I pervised the painting of our homemade structure. Kids and paint. How could I have forgotten the potential mayhem that such a combination can create? After cleaning up the paint mess - kids, brushes, carport - I suggested that we would probably eat earlier if we just asked Gramma to heat the wieners in water on the gas range.
A pain of guilt came over me as I realized I was trying to weasel out of an earlier promise. As Jamie, Jeffrey and Kimberley looked on, I built a first-class fire in our back yard pit, whittled some roasting sticks, and prepared for the outdoor cooking event. When we finished eating I leaned back on the cool grass and watched the last flickering remnants of our fire. Six-year-old Jeffrey was leaning back against my chest, and I began to think about what it meant to be a Grampa. The silence was broken when Jeffrey quietly reflected, "Know what Grampa?" And without breaking his gaze at the dying embers he continued, "This is the best day of my whole life." After a few moments of continued silence he glanced up and said, "Are you crying, Grampa? You've got a tear on your cheek." Clearing my throat I explained that it must be from the smoke.
By Frank Cooper from A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Barry Spilchuk