Pick your battles
Monday August 11th 2008, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Family

I got an email from a friend that left me thinking about the on-the-spot wisdom I aspire to having myself, like she has, come my eventual day of grandmotherhood.

My cousin Doug, a Baby Boomer a bit older than me, told this tale at our 95-year-old grandfather’s funeral fourteen years ago: back in the day, he grew his hair wayyy down to here, as so many were doing during the Vietnam era.

His dad had a lot of his Army days still in him and couldn’t stand his son’s hippy-freak look.  They fought over it.  Constantly.  Neither would budge.  Our grandfather being in the US Senate, my uncle finally shipped his kid off to DC to be a page for Grandpa for the summer to get him out of his hair: let Dad handle the kid.

Doug loved it.  It was clear, as he spoke to the gathered family all those years later, that the experience had left him with a lifelong closeness to our grandfather, whom he revered.  But that summer, he kept waiting for the explosion that he so much expected–after all, that’s what his dad would do, and Grandpa was a conservative from a conservative State and here Doug was, visibly flouting that image while working in his Senate office and, in a sense, representing him every time he walked down any of the halls of Congress.  Finally, near the end of his stint, he couldn’t stand it anymore and asked nervously, “Uh, Grandpa–what do you think of my hair?”

And our bald grandfather smiled sweetly and answered him, “I think you should enjoy it while you’ve got it!”

Doug, telling the tale in the eulogy, ran a hand over his now-shiny top and laughed, “As always, he was right!”

10 Comments so far
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Thanks for the smile. It was needed today.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 08.11.08 @ 4:43 pm

What a funny,great story! I’ve always cautioned to ‘pick your battles’ and the hair? meh. such a small insignificant thing in the broader picture,eh?
I was fortunate in that my dad recognized it as such and didn’t say a word about my brother’s hair, not a word.

Comment by marianne 08.11.08 @ 5:13 pm

I’ve always told my kids, “If you must do something weird or dumb, please do it to your hair. Don’t tattoo. Don’t pierce. Just do it to your hair, which will sooner or later grow out (or fall out.) Fortunately, none of them has felt obligated to do anything too weird, so I haven’t had to worry even about that.

Comment by Laura 08.11.08 @ 10:31 pm

What a great story!!! As I think of the grandpa it reminds me of my grandma of the same generation. That generation really possessed common sense. Your grandpa obviously had a great sense of humor to go with it.

Comment by Joansie 08.12.08 @ 4:46 am

Cute. Very cute. Pop used to enjoy saying “Common sense isn’t very common anymore.”

Comment by Channon 08.12.08 @ 6:00 am

Thanks for the morning chuckle :-} I shared it with Oscar (long hair and long beard, he appreciated the story :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 08.12.08 @ 6:54 am

SOunds like a story my hippy looking brother-n-law would enjoy 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 08.12.08 @ 7:01 am

Hee! What a great story. My dad was an all-out hippie in the sixties – I’ll have to show him this later. 😉

Comment by Sarah 08.12.08 @ 7:15 am

What a wonderful story! There’s a lot of wisdom in there for us parents… 🙂

Comment by Jocelyn 08.12.08 @ 2:06 pm

It can be hard at times to know what battles to let go. Hair is such a non issue to me, that is an easy one.

Comment by Sonya 08.17.08 @ 12:14 pm

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