Another milestone

Sam-Neely-Football

A family milestone—the first grandchild graduates from high school.

This month, my grandson graduates 50 years to the day after I did. He’s leaving for college on July 7 because he has a football scholarship. I don’t pinch his cheeks or offer him a quarter to rub my feet (“Christmas Vacation” fans will know this). After all, he’s 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 285 pounds, and I’m 5-foot-2. 

You know what’s coming now: you’re going down memory lane with me. The night he was born, we lived in Dalton, Georgia, and his parents lived in Florence, Alabama. There’s just no easy way to make that trip.

My son Dale called around 11pm and said Stacie was in labor. He told me they suspected it would be a long one. I said, “Do you want me to come now?” 

He said, “You don’t have to.” There was a pause and then he said, “I’d like you to come now.”

I was packed and ready in 15 minutes. My husband was traveling with work and was in St. Louis. I’d never driven such a long distance by myself, but my son wanted me there and I was going. What made this a problem is I can get lost in a paper sack and this was pre-GPS days.

However, I made the drive just fine. I even stopped at a Waffle House for coffee and when I told the server I was on my way to see my first grandson born, she gave me the coffee free.

It turned out the doctors were right, and they finally took Stacie in for a C-section around 8:30am. His other grandmother and I couldn’t wait to see the little guy. Because it was a small hospital, they not only let us see him as soon as he was born, they let us go to the nursery to watch them bath him and get him ready to see his mom, who’d had anesthesia.

I have so many wonderful memories. I used to work at a newspaper where I wrote a weekly column and he was often the subject. I called him Perfect Grandson Sam. At age 3, he looked up at me one day and said, “Wet’s go det a tattoo.” Fortunately, he was talking about temporary tattoos at the toy store.

However, he now has two special tattoos. On his right wrist are the initials of his late maternal grandfather and on his left wrist is my late husband’s ham radio call sign—K4SON—which makes me love Sam more. Both men would be so proud of the young man he is now. 

I have to admit, I’m kind of proud, too. 

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