News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2005


Just what is a grandfather?

Sorting out the blood lines for boys yet to see their fourth birthdays gets complicated in a simplistic sort of way.

I'm talking, of course, about Wright Deas and Trey Buckingham, our grandsons.

I'm Tom-Tom, somebody special in their lives, but I'm not sure they made the connection why until recently.

Maybe, they still haven't.

Their concept of sharing is that everything and everybody they want belongs to them personally. It's only when they decide to share that they distribute their possessions to their peers.

The boys were swinging last weekend at Regina's family reunion in Covington County and I supplied the pushes.

Each wanted to go higher than his cousin. "Go higher, Tom-Tom," they each admonished me. But Wright was also thinking about what he heard from the grown folks sitting around the dining room table and looking at family pictures. He heard the word "grandfather."

"Are you my grandfather?" he asked, as I was about to give him another push in the swing.

I told him that I am.

"Do I have a grandfather?" Trey asked, as I was about to send him, too, back into the air.

"I'm your grandfather, also," I said, and he grinned really big.

"But you are MY grandfather," Wright said.

"He's MY grandfather," Trey said, as they started to possess me as they do their train engines.

"Look, you boys are cousins," I said, trying to remember they are still classified as 3-year-olds.

Two-year-old Emma Grace, swinging in the kiddy chair, simplified things and saved me.

"No, no," she said, "He's MY Tom-Tom."

Thus, we came full circle. I was everybody's Tom-Tom, and suddenly nobody's grandfather.

But one of these days soon they will understand that I'm their mommies' dad and not just some old guy who brings them things, plays with them and tells them he loves them.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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