Almost every Sunday, three generations of my family sit down at our kitchen table for a meal. It has been the site of much laughter. As I now view my two teenage grandkids, I remember them in the same chairs with booster seats.
There have been some great one-liners over the years, and one or two cooking mishaps. One Sunday, I made pancakes. I was getting upset because everyone started to whine about them.
After a near mutiny, I figured out that instead of 4 teaspoons of baking powder, I put in 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Still, I think they could have been polite and eaten the pancakes anyway. They haven’t eaten them since.
In our conversations, occasionally a term used by either the old or the young gets a puzzled look. The granddaughter may throw out a word like “dope” (which means good) or "lit" (which means cool or awesome).
Some of the expressions I still use are “bummer” and “right on.” I don’t think I need to explain those.
As I’ve watched these two grow up, like most grandparents, I’ve felt they’ve had life pretty easy. I’ve been concerned they aren't tough enough for the world that awaits them.
I have concluded that I can throw this apprehension out the window. The staggering societal issues they have witnessed make what I saw in the '60s and '70s seem like child’s play.
Over the years, while watching news of chaos and violence in other countries, I would think, “Man, I’m glad I live in the United States of America.”
Now we get to tack on the Capitol’s occupation to our grandkids' lunch pail of worries. The violence and destruction that occurred last week overwhelmed some of us with emotions. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you're on, it was horrific to watch our Capitol under siege.
Maybe our grandchildren’s generation will have a belly full of how not to act. I hope our young people will come out of this stronger, smarter, more resilient about life, and more accepting of all.
I hope Generation Z will want to listen and reach across the aisle. They have witnessed none of that. They’ve observed so-called grown-ups acting badly due to no respect, no kindness, and no compromise.
I sensed a shift in our country with the presidency of George W. Bush. I was taken aback by the extreme dislike for him by the left, followed by eight years of animosity by the right toward President Obama. I did not understand the intensity of the dislike for each of these presidents.
Then came Trump, and his term of discontent. The fisticuffs from left and right have been flying for four years. Unfortunately, we’re now inside what is called a perfect storm. I just read a quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.” Currently, we are all uneasy.
Who knows what conversations our three generations will have at our kitchen table in the coming weeks. I stand ready to answer their questions. As I have written before, grandparents must set the bar and be the example.
I can guarantee there will always be laughter at my table, hopefully not the pancake story. I made a tiny mistake. My grandkids don't consider my cooking “GOAT.”
They do however, consider grandma’s cooking “GOAT.” My granddaughter has informed me that this term means the Greatest of All Time. That’s funny. We need funny.
Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at firstname.lastname@example.org.