The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

It’s official

Who knows what mischief lurks behind the gaze.Nearly fifty years ago, my son entered our world – screaming, probably because he was not holding a glass of Knob Creek in his fist. He and we survived his growing up, though there were times we wondered whether he or we actually would pull it off.

He and we did, and he graduated from high school and went off to make his mark on the history of mankind.

A few years later, came the call. “Dad, we’re getting married.”

We took some time off from work and headed to Ohio. Angie seemed pretty nice, the church was pretty huge, and the gathered family was pretty proud. Especially Mom and me.

I got back to work and my fellow reporters all had the same question: “Do you feel old now?”

“Nope,” I said. One of the funner things about being around one’s offspring is they keep you from feeling old. The kids are pretending to be adults, and doing a pretty fine job, though it really isn’t all that difficult. Nothing much has changed, except they’re paying their own rent and utilities. In his younger years, we’d called him “Little John, Big John’s son.” But he had aged some, and decided he was too old to be little anything. Henceforth, he said, he would be called LJ.

Anyway, he was not yet a dad, so I wasn’t old.

LJ had always been a fast talker. Together, it turned out, he and Ange were even faster at something else. As the date came closer for the Grand Arrival, we could hear his voice change. We had been listening to him pretend to be ready, calling with increasing frequency to let us know how the schedule was progressing. Finally, one morning in April …

“Dad, I’m a dad!” His tone, somewhere between fear and excitement, was palpable. “She’s beautiful!”

I remembered the feeling. I had been holding his mother’s hand when he arrived.

What seemed like a few months later, there were two more – twin boys, born within minutes one of the other.

Friends asked, “Do you feel old now?”

“Nope,” I said. Granddaughter Morgan had a grin like Mickey Mouse. She turned into a great soccer player, liked geology and was taking an interest in photography. The eldest boy-child, named John IV, was everything a father could want, though there were times we all wondered whether son or father would make it through the teenage years. The youngest was the lacrosse star. All of them were academic stars. In April, she would jump two years ahead of her brothers. In December, they would catch up a year. And when we were able to visit, they all hugged like they meant it.

Finally, we drove out to watch Morgan graduate from high school. It was a wonderful day I will long remember.

Friends asked, “Do you feel old now?”

“Nope,” I said. She still lived at home. She had the same boyfriend she’d had for years. She thought she would like to be a veterinarian someday. Or a pediatrician. Either way, college was on the map.

A few days before Super Bowl Sunday this year, LJ and I were chatting about life, motorcycle weather, and trip I’d be making out there to visit and watch the Big Game.

“You know you have to come here the end of April,” he said.

“Why is that?” I asked.

“You granddaughter is graduating.”

“She just did that.” I said. “I was there.”

“That was high school, Dad. She’s graduating from college.”

I was sure high school had only been four months ago, not four years.

It’s official. I’m old.


  1. Angie Messeder

    April 17, 2017 at 16:14

    I love this and I’m about to cry because she’s my baby getting ready to graduate from college but I could not be more proud!
    Angie Messeder

  2. Mary Jo Roetting

    April 24, 2017 at 07:37

    Congrats, Grandpa and Parents on a wonderful fulling goal.

    Mary Jo

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