Aircraft Carriers and Skate Boards
There was a big move in my life recently, my girlfriends’ daughter and 15 year old Grandson Frankie moved from Portland and leased an apartment in the village we live in. The daughter has a new job at a resort and Frankie is starting at a new high school. It’s much smaller and slower here than in Portland and that was part of the allure besides being near family and landing a good job in a nice place. It’s going to be interesting to see how we all adjust to having each other around but I’m betting it will be good!
So on the day of the rental truck adventure from Portland to the coast I had an appointment at the V.A. Hospital in Portland for an eye exam. My girlfriend and her daughter drove the truck and I took the Frankie with me to the V.A.
Now this 15 year old is tall, 6’3, likes to skateboard and snowboard, and dresses accordingly. He’s got the pins and hats and a cool leather jacket. He’s friendly and very inquisitive so when I take him places it’s an adventure.
If there are other young people around he’s in high heaven. They talk music, girls, stuff, girls and food. However when I take him to someplace like the V.A. it’s a much tamer version and he has to adapt to being around older people who aren’t necessarily interested in Indusial Rock and Roll or the way he can imagine himself skating down the hill from the hospital.
However, it’s a great experience for him, the people he sees are in the hospital for a variety of reasons many of which are results of war time encounters. To see a serviceman or woman missing a limb or to see an old warrior who is on the last journey opens his eyes to what lays ahead.
It’s a jolt to his system to realize that maybe there is life outside of jamming to the music and busting a move or two on a board. It’s not a particularly pleasant environment to spend several hours in but it’s not unpleasant either. It’s life with warts and all but everyone there is trying to make it better. This last visit was very good.
After a prolonged wait for my eyes to dilate then the exam we were making our way out of the hospital but had to stop for a prescription to be filled out. Waiting in line Frankie spotted a emblem of a battleship on a Navy Veterans jacket and asked me if that was a famous ship. Before I could answer another Navy Veteran standing in line with us answered explaining it was a big battleship but he personally had served aboard several aircraft carriers.
The older fellow lit up when the Grandson asked about aircraft carriers. For the next few minutes I watched and listened to a 15 year old and a perhaps 60 year old Veteran jabber and talk of ships and skateboards. Apparently the Vet had a grandson who also skated and was interested in ships as well. I was a great sight to see the two exchanging stories and ideas like they had known each other for years. It was simply a man talking to a boy in a building filled with folks full of memories. All the way back to the coast Frankie talked of how it “was cool to talk to some old people who had neat stories.” I can only hope that that mindset stays because we older folks and the younger ones need to keep communication lines open, it’s in all of our best interests!
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