GAYS MILLS - Bobby was excited. He was going to be staying with his Grandma and Grandpa for a whole week while his mom and dad went on a trip. Bobby was seven years old and this would be the first time he’d spent any time away from his parents. Grandma and Grandpa lived on a small hobby farm about 100 miles from the city where Bobby lived. His parents dropped him off on their way to the airport early Saturday morning.
Grandma had a big breakfast on the table when they arrived. Everything was fresh and home-cooked. And they all ate at the kitchen table. There was no TV on the counter like at home. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t even have a TV, so Bobby would miss his shows this week. He wasn’t happy about that.
After breakfast, Bobby and Grandpa went out to do chores. They gathered the eggs and fed the chickens. Grandpa asked Bobby to take the basket of eggs to Grandma in the house.
“Take your time, Bobby. Be very careful,” Grandpa said.
Then Grandpa had Bobby climbed up the ladder to the haymow and threw down a bale of hay for the calves. It wasn’t easy pushing and dragging the 60-pound bale over to the hay chute, but he did it. Bobby liked the smell in the haymow. Back down in the barn, Grandpa showed Bobby how to cut the twine so the bale popped open on the floor. Grandpa showed Bobby about how much hay to give to each of the six calves he was raising and Bobby carefully fed each calf.
And so the week went, Bobby involved in everything Grandpa did. They went to town in the pickup almost every day. Grandpa seemed to know everyone in town and they knew him. They went to the feed mill, the hardware store, the café for “a slab of pie”, and the library. At home, they worked in the garden. They fixed fence and stacked firewood. One rainy day, they worked in the cozy shop on some small repair projects. They sorted nuts and bolts and fixed an old ladder. Bobby learned about tools and how to use them. He spray painted an old wheelbarrow bright red and Grandpa showed him how to keep the paint from running.
During the week, Bobby never missed his TV shows once. He read books at night alongside Grandma and Grandpa because that’s what they did. He slept like a rock every night and felt like an important part of the farm. And he was.
Robert was excited. His granddaughter Bobbi was coming to stay with him and his wife for a week. His mind wandered back to that weeklong visit to Grandpa’s farm, when he was about Bobbi’s age. He was the grandpa now. He remembered how good it felt to be included in the actual work with his Grandpa, how grown up he felt helping Grandpa. He had a list of things that he planned to have Bobbi help him with during the week. His wife had a list too.
They heard a car pull up and stepped out onto the porch.