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Just Outside My Door

September 14, 2011
The first wild asters,

lovely though they be,

Have always sent

a stabbing pain through me.

Their deep dark purple

fills me with surprise;

Surely, I think,

some fancy blinds my eyes;

Surely I think,

some fancy blinds my eyes;

Surely not yet

should they appear

When it is so early

in the year!

Always I have thought

the summer done

When the wild asters’

blossoming has begun/

Here I have found one

in the wayside grass;

How swift, how very swift

the seasons pass!

Time marked by tulips,

violets, the rose,

Wild asters now, how swift,

how swift life goes!

Grace Noll Crowell aptly describes the month of September which arrived last Thursday. Shortly before that day I had seen the first purple aster just outside my door. There are more of them now, also lavender and white one too. The Queen Anne’s lace is nearly gone by and even the golden rods are wan. Soon the leaves will start to change color and autumn will arrive on September 23rd, at least according to the calendar. It is my favorite time of year because it is filled with a variety of colors. It’s not that there’s not beauty too be found every season, but I also enjoy the cooler temperatures. Moreover, seeing the fruition of the spring and summer work is really gratifying too.

I also like enjoying the excitement and chattering of many youngsters as they head back to the new school year. Even those who wish vacation time was longer are eager to see their friends again. And many mothers are happy to have a break.

Something else I enjoy this month is attending the celebration of the grandparents breakfast and the beginning of the new year parade for kindergarten through sixth graders. It’s a highlight for the children in Sherman Central School.

Having grandchildren and now great-grandchildren in the school system, we have attended the celebration about as many years as they have had it. Since I take pictures of it for the papers, I will no doubt keep attending it until after our great-grandchildren youngsters get in seventh grade and maybe longer, for I take pictures of it for the papers I write for.

When our children were growing up, we always got cards for our grandparents as well as parents on Mother’s Day. Nowadays there is a National Grandparents Day the first Sunday after Labor Day. The date changes year by year, this year it arrives on Sept. 9, but it is never later than September 13. The first Grandparents Day was held in 1978. The brainchild for such a day began with Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a West Virginia homemaker and mother of 15 children. She began a campaign to establish a special day to honor grandparents. Her enthusiasm soon attracted businesses, churches, civic groups and political leaders.

The Virginia Governor Arch Moore proclaimed that special day to take place in 1973, but it was President Jimmy Carter that signed the proclamation for a National Grandparents Day five years after the one held in Virginia. Maude McClung Dickerson was very interested in the holiday and was influential in the final declaration presented to President Carter, from the congress. She often visited her grandmother, Maude McClung Dickerson who lived on her 13-acre farm in West Virginia. She once stated, “After working all day on the farm, Grandma would walk off to visit elderly people of the community and often I would tag along. That’s where my love and respect for oldsters started.”

According to the National Grandparents Day Council, Grandparents Day has a threefold purpose: to honor grandparents; to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children; and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.

An interesting note says that in 1900 about half of the American households included a mother father, children and at least one other relative, usually a grandparent. A conservative estimative says there are between 25 and 30 percent of our population today is made up of grandparents. Most children have one and many have as many as four grandparents.

I have many wonderful memories of my maternal grandparents, and since my paternal grandparents died earlier, I have fewer memories of them. I can testify personally that grandparents can play a big part in their children’s lives.

I can also agree that they do from my many experiences with our grandchildren. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve went to football, basketball, cross-country and track games and meets in which one of more of our grandchildren or great-grandchildren have participated over the years. We have also attended awards day at school, sports banquets, etc. We enjoy their visits, stay-overnights and of course trips to the creek. We are blest that 18 of our grandchildren live in Sherman or nearby and only two in other states. Of course some of them have spouses bringing the count even higher.

Not all parents have their children living near by, so they don’t see their grandchildren very often. I’m sure it is much harder to get to know them well, but I’ve seen many of them keep closely in touch through letters, Internet, phones and more. It isn’t usually the grandparent’s responsibility to meet all their physical needs or to bring them up, unless their parent’s are unable to do that. I urge all of you to pray for them, spend time with them whenever you can and encourage them. You can also sometimes share some of the things that have happened during your life. Often youth will learn from your experiences. Listen to them and love them unconditionally, but don’t criticize their parents.

Have a wonderful, blest Grandparent’s Day.


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