Thank Grog It’s Firday!
I have to admit, when I saw that Grandpa was the main character in the first act of the new “Holiday/Christmas/Winter” event, I was a bit put off. Especially when the opening lines had to do with Death coming to take Abe to “the other side.”
But, the fact is, I was mostly bummed because it meant that I couldn’t keep Abe and Mona perpetually feeding pigeons into the black hole, across the street from the SuperCollider. This is important, as it keeps things stable in my Springfield, balancing out “the end,” by feeding just enough matter into the black hole, to keep it from sucking everything we know and love, into the black hole.
And then, I read the article about the super, super, black hole that is in our very own galaxy…that is a gazillion times bigger than the black hole that is supposed to be at the center of the galaxy…and just for good measure, looked out of my window, and saw everything in place…not being sucked up (at least that I could see). So, rather than freaking out, decided instead to look back and focus on the watch.
Which watch you say? Well…I can tell you that there is more than one addled old grandpa story about a watch. Read on!
When I pulled the trigger on the Premium Item being offered in this Chapter (I call them chapters, as they are supposed to be related to the same overall story-line…but kind of aren’t), I saw a character that I really didn’t remember.
Old Tut, and the Panacea for Disagreeable Juveniles is one of those random building/character sets that begs you to go on a Googlefest. It turns out that like so many things in our game, it only showed up in a flashback (as in a flash…blip…gone) in one episode- S38E18…A Father’s Watch.
I didn’t remember Old Tut, or Orville, or the lineage of the Simpson men that were told as a long line of “kid stranglers.” But, I remembered the watch.
This is one of those episodes with so many characters and plot twists that you can get lost pretty easily.
Homer then starts a “Kid Trophy” business to mock and make money from the parents who reward their kids for every small deed they perform in life. Lisa is jealous. Bart ends up losing the watch…then finding it after Milhouse hocks it…and then Bart breaks the watch…all this after we find out that the Simpson men come from a long line of Dads who strangle their kids.
I didn’t remember much of any of this…except the watch.
Because, I had a watch incident similar to this.
On my 13th birthday, I was given my Grandfather’s pocket watch. It is an Elgin, from 1912, which he got on his 12th birthday. It made me feel very important…and as the first-born grandson, pretty special.
I bought an expensive gold watch fob to go with it, so I could use it without fear of losing it. I took it to school. I wore it like it was supposed to be worn, the fob attached to my belt, and the watch in the “watch pocket” of my Levis. Yes. That tiny pocket in your jeans isn’t for coins…it is for a pocket watch.
I treasured the watch, and took great care of it…right up until the day that my Mother decreed that she would feel better if it was in a “safe place.” The safe place she chose was a lock box at the bank. Which of course meant that I would not be able to see it, hold it, or enjoy it…because I didn’t have access to the box.
How many? Try 42. That is not a misprint. Forty. Two.
On my 55th birthday, I opened up a small box from from my mother, with a note in it. “I want you to have this now. Happy Birthday.”
I tried to be gracious. But, I finally asked her, “So…what did I do to finally earn the watch back? What is different between now, and who I was ten years ago…or twenty?”
She didn’t miss a beat. “Oh…we forgot it was in there, and we changed banks.”
Nice. Such a special, thoughtful gesture.
I didn’t mount it in a window box frame, as my Mom suggested. I didn’t put it in some hallowed location where it could be revered by all who saw it. I didn’t start wearing it, as she had discarded the fob, the item that I had actually saved up lawn-mowing money to purchase back in 1967. Instead, I put it in a sock, and placed it inside of a WWI shell casing that I display on my bookshelf to remind me of my Great Uncle’s service…and left it there, untouched.
Then, on the 13th birthday of my oldest, first-born grandson, Andrew, I bought a nice box, and a small window frame, and presented it to him. He was excited, amazed, and full of reverence for the gesture. It’s been four years since. He is an amazing young man who is smart, talented, and kind. I have never asked about the watch again. It is his watch. It is his to enjoy. It comes to him with earnest love from both me, and my own grandfather, who was a good man who taught me the value of hard work.
When I told my mother what I had done, she was horrified. “I hope they put it away somewhere safe!” she scolded.
“Well…I would like to see him enjoy it, before he turns 55,” I replied. “It’s a nice watch. But, in the end…it’s just a watch that doesn’t keep very accurate time.”
The fact is, like most heirlooms that are passed from generation to generation, they do a pretty crappy job of telling the whole story. I appreciated the watch, because its case was worn by my grandfather’s hands, as he worked in the tree nursery he ran from a very young age. I liked having it by my side, in my “watch pocket,” and also enjoyed something as cool as a “watch fob” during an era when “Timex” was king. I liked telling my friends that it was my grandfather’s.
However, other than knowing it was valuable…and once mine…there is no real connection to the watch for my grandson. He never met my grandfather. He didn’t know about the watch until it was his…because it was either in the lock box, or sitting inside the WWI artillery shell. He only knows that it is now his…and I trusted him to have it.
Stuff. We get so attached to stuff. I have a lot of stuff that has great meaning to me, which ultimately will have no meaning whatsoever to the next generation. The value is in the relationships…in the nurturing of love and trust that we share…without the stuff.
The lesson of the watch? Unconditional love doesn’t require “trophies”to make the memories valuable.
Oh…and, I never choked my kids.