Special to the Tribune-Star
I was waiting at a local restaurant for friends to gather and I just barely noticed a couple sitting in front of me and to my left when, at the entrance to the room, two little girls with pony tails flying let out a screech and went running to the lady sitting there.
They immediately hugged her and it was obvious the kids were really happy. One of them said, “We haven’t seen you for a long time.” I have no idea how much time had elapsed since these little girls had seen their grandmother. Children mark time differently than we adults. But these two girls were overjoyed to see their grandmother.
Maybe it’s the fact that my own children are all grown up, or maybe it is simply children’s display of unpretentious joy and a true sense of happiness. True happiness was what I was witness to.
I had to go over and find out these little girls’ names. It was Emma (who had just had her seventh birthday the day before) and Allie who was the ripe old age of 4. Their extreme good cheer lit up the room. A light of happiness that children do without any worry about being loud or out of place or anything an adult would think … just plain old happy. I got back to my table and sat down to wait on friends.
Then, the very next day, I was leaving Baesler’s and in the exit area where people are allowed to do things in the public interest there was this very young Cub Scout, fully dressed in his uniform looking sharp as a new penny. His name is Charlie Watson Conner. (I hope I have spelled all of Charlie’s names correctly.)
Charlie told me his first name was the same as his grandfather’s. I reminded Charlie when you keep a name going in a family, as he is doing, it’s called continuity. Charlie’s father was standing nearby and told me Charlie’s middle name, Watson, is the same middle name he (Charlie’s father Andrew Conner) has and his father and grandfather. And even further back, people had the middle name of Watson, which goes back to a maternal grandmother many years ago along the family line. So I leaned in and told Charlie that was real continuity.
I then bought some caramel corn, one of the things the Cub Scouts were selling, and left after I had told Charlie my uniform I had first worn as a Cub Scout was a lot different than his.
Only a couple of instances in one, small weekend that made me feel really good about children, their efforts in our adult world and their unintentional effort just to be happy. It, naturally, made an old man feel good about being where he was at the time.
By the way, the caramel corn was really good.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.