, Port Arthur, Texas


October 16, 2012

Lesson from a Bobblehead

PORT NECHES — Sometimes folks get too carried away with life about them to remember to live and enjoy their own lives.

I’m not trying to be cryptic or enigmatic; I’m simply pointing out that which goes on around us beyond our own lives is simply a transitory process while our own life is the reality in which we live.

Now that I’ve confused both you and myself, let me see if I can explain.

Never before have I been so concerned about our country. As a kid, listening to and watching adults gathered in front of the newspaper, reading World War II headlines, I never sensed the worry or concern among them that resonates from so many today.

Oh, yeah, back they, everyone worried over their loved ones overseas, but as far as the United States was concerned, they knew it would win the war. There was no doubt. It was just a matter of time.

Today, the demeanor of the general populace has grown more passive, and the future seems more of a tossup than ever.

That is what bothers me. Sometimes, I think ‘what if we end up like some European countries? What if government exerts even more control than it has the last few years? What if George Orwell’s “1984” comes to fruition?

I could come up with a hundred “what ifs,” and probably all for nothing.

Concern can sometimes skew our priorities.

My grandson Keegan made me realize that one day when I was taking him home. He looked up and said, “What’s wrong, Pa?” When I asked why he asked, he replied. “You look mad.”

At the time, I had been listening to more of the nonsense so prevalent with this administration in Washington. I laughed and turned off the radio. “Nothing. So, how was school?”

My little six-week-old grandson, little bobblehead Noah, reinforced my recognition of spending too much time worrying about things over which I had very little control.

Now I enjoy the grandkids. I don’t mind putting important things like mowing the yard and cleaning the cats’ litter box on hold so I can baby-sit.

Anyway, last week I took care of Noah while his mom, our daughter, Susan, and my wife went out for a little shopping and lunch before Susan goes back to work after her maternity leave.

Noah was on his tummy on his blanket on the carpet when the two of them left. He’s starting to hold his head up in a fashion. The little feller could be a model for the bobblehead dolls. But he sure tries.

Just before Susan and Gayle left, Susan mentioned Noah had been trying to roll over. Well, they couldn’t have been gone five minutes when I witnessed one of those “baby firsts.” The squirt rolled from his tummy to his back. And yes, I was excited and thrilled to see that move. Naturally, I called Susan, after which I probably took a dozen pictures of him.

I guess I should feel kinda bad, but I wore the little guy out putting him on his tummy and watching him roll over. After a while, he got tired of such play and decided he was hungry.

After I gave him his bottle, we played a few more minutes. The little guy is better natured than any of our others were at that age, though Keegan will run him a close second. He’ll laugh, and he’s starting to coo.

Knock on wood, but he eats, sleeps, does his business, and goes right back to sleep.

There have been times Susan brought him in asleep and he didn’t awaken before she got back. I’ve been tempted to wake him so we could play, but, I restrained myself.

After Noah left that day, I picked up Keegan, the eight-year-old. He had an early dismissal, and his mom, Amy, had to stay at Woodcrest, where she’s doing her student teaching, to sit in on conferences with parents.

Keegan and I played football in the front yard.

Well, he played; I hobbled, but it was fun.

He’d take off; I’d throw a pass; he’d catch it, turn and run back for a touchdown. He’s still a small feller, but he’s fast.

Over the last few years, I’ve been amazed at how much improved he is in physical activities, but then my wife reminds me, he’s growing up, developing those muscles, learning skills.

Just like all kids. Mikey, Noah’s older brother, is the same way, just as is Kenli, Keegan’s two-year–old sister. They’re all growing, developing, changing.

I’m a lucky guy.

Regardless of what the result come Election Day, I have family; I have loved ones; and they are my real treasure.

And isn’t that most important?

Kent Conwell of Port Neches is a retired educator. Cotact Conwell at He blogs at

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