One of the tough things about grandchildren is that you are stuck with them. This little guy has not only reminded me every time we met for the past year that my 81st birthday is on the tracks and drawing closer every day – as if I need reminding – he is now branching out into other questions as the full implication of the numbers sinks in. Like if this is going to be the 81st, Pop, there must have been others, right?

“Gee, Pop, you have had 80 other birthdays! Can you remember them all?”

Should I tell him that sometimes I have a problem remembering his name?

“I can remember a few but not the ones when I was very young, like you.”

“Tell me about one of them, Pop.”

“We went on a cruise on a big ship out to sea. That was a great birthday.”

“And another one?”

Is he going to say that 79 more times? “The whole family went out to dinner to a nice restaurant. We ate and drank and there was a big cake at the end. We had a great time.”

“What are you going to do this time, Pop?”

“We are all going out to dinner together. You are coming too, right?”

“Are you going to have more birthdays, Pop?”

“I hope so!” He’s going to ask how many more, I bet you.

“I hope so too, Pop!”

“How many have you had?” I pull the old switcheroo on him.

“Um, I’ll be 12 in 3 years time, Pop.”

“So how many birthdays have you had so far?”


“Good boy. Wanna go over to the ice- cream shop?”

“You know I do, Pop! Can I ask you a question?”

“Um, okay,” I say without enthusiasm.

“How come you’ve got creases in your ears?”