Five years ago today, the Colonel's second favorite person in the whole wide world (the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's position atop the leader board is unassailable) began his air-breathing ride 'round ole Sol. Caleb Thomas Gregory, the Hope of 21st Century Civilization-Dash One (H21CC-1), and his little brother (H21CC-2), have enriched the Colonel's life in ways that, prior to their assault and seizure of the high ground of his heart, were unimaginable to the man curmudgeoned before his time.
Grandsons give one a reason to get up earlier than normal. It takes a little extra time each morning to down the four mugs of caffeine delivery brew required to boost the Colonel's heart rate to the elevated levels that will provide sufficient oxygen to the internal systems vital for maintaining a prolonged chase. Raising grandsons is not a sprint--it is a marathon. A very fast-paced marathon.
Grandsons keep one's powers of persuasion fine tuned. A three-year-old boy is a single-minded creature, whose death-grip grasp of a particular want (e.g., candy, toy, fishing trip, puppy) will test the will of even the most iron-spined grandparent. Particular wants, upon which a three-year-old's attention has been focused, require the most imaginative distractions to break the laser lock. Also, particular want distractions, like camouflage, must be continuous to be effective. Any break in grandparental concentration will, almost certainly, result in reacquisition of the grandson particular want target upon which said grandson was previously fixated. Even in a target-rich environment.
Grandsons are especially good for one's self-esteem. Everything the Colonel does is MAGIC to a pre-schooler. The most simple sleight of hand can be multiplied to a plethora of slightly different permutations and so maintain the illusion of master magician in the mind of both fool and fooled.
Grandsons help one to overcome fears which, once banished in one's youth, have reappeared in old-age to prevent osteoporosis-exacerbated injury. For example, there was not a tree in the land that could not be fearlessly ascended in the Colonel's youth. A few years back, the Colonel noticed that his tree-climbing fervor had been replaced by a ground-loving fever each time he climbed into a lofty tree-stand for the purposes of apex predation/selective cull of the local deer herd. H21CC-1 is a veritable tree-climbing monkey who cannot understand why the Colonel prefers to remain earth-side. H21CC-1 is a veritable tree-climbing monkey who is too quickly mastering the art of challenging the manhood of others with taunts--while perched precariously several scores of feet in the fragile uppermost branches of one of the Colonel's taller leaf bearers. The Colonel still hasn't learned to ignore manhood challenging taunts. Maybe that skill will come when the Colonel turns 60. Until then, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda will have to keep the medicine cabinet well-stocked.
Ten years from today the Colonel will celebrate, with great regret, H21CC-1's fifteenth birthday. On that date, as happens with all human males, H21Cc-1 will lose his mind. Some time toward the end of the following ten-year span, H21CC-1 will reacquire his sanity. The Colonel may not be there to welcome him back. So, the Colonel has ten years from this point to plant seeds that will withstand that 15 to 25-year-old drought and vigorously germinate with the return of the rains of reason.
The Colonel loves a mission.