I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to effectively “back in my day” them–the line all parents and grandparents are adept at using to contrast how good “kids these days” have it. I’ve got the line all worked out, thanks to a loophole in my living conditions during the first two months of marriage.
“Back in my day, we didn’t have running water. We had to walk across the yard from our single-wide trailer to shower, and bring a change of clothes. Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it, with their heated showers, iPhone 10 digital metempsychosis and PlayStation 7 Portables.” (I’ve accounted for future gadgetry, and would like to thank my 10th grade English teacher for the word metempsychosis being a part of my life. You’re the best, Mr. Burke.)
My kids/grandkids don’t need to know that we only lived in that situation for 2 months, or that it was a great rent-free, in-the-back-yard-of-my-grandmother’s-house situation while we raised our support to report to Asheville, and that we are still grateful for the whole deal. That would spoil the fun. Needless to say, the trailer was a great spot to crash every night while we worked hard to raise our support. What the trailer was not, however, was a great spot to conduct a support appointment.
But one day, that’s what happened. I was on the phone trying to line up a place to meet a potential supporter, and he asked where exactly we lived. I made the regrettable mistake of being too specific, and once he learned where we were, he suggested stopping by to meet us and hear about our ministry.
I mentioned above that the trailer was in the back yard of my grandmother’s house. The house would have been an ideal place to arrange a support appointment, but we had family in town, and the already not-large house was literally too full to find a quiet corner. So when he pulled up in the gravel driveway, we walked him around the house, high-stepping through the dewy grass that needed mowing. We opted for the “front” entrance on the trailer, so as to avoid having to walk over the soft spot near the AC unit and risk the significant chance of our guest falling through the floor.
I don’t remember the specifics of the appointment beyond a nagging feeling that the mini-cactus and 13-inch TV with rabbit ears (with our awesome circa-1993 Super Nintendo under it) were somehow distracting him (and me) from the point of our get-together. I’ll be honest and say that I was hoping that Pedro (the name we gave our “pet” mouse in the trailer) would make an appearance, to thoroughly complete the circle of awkwardness. Even then, I was planning ways to tell the story later on, perhaps on a blog for millions to read with a sense of merriment, and perhaps a smidge of empathy.
At the end of the appointment, the guy ended up handing me a wad of cash (not, coincidentally, the preferred method of giving…) and we never even got his address to send a thank you note. We were busy giving him directions around the yellow jacket nest in the side yard.
Yeah, my kids don’t know how good they’ve got it, these days.
What about you? What’s gonna be your go-to line with your grandkids? Share it in the comments below!