18th Century pharaonic crown by John Campana (Wikimedia Commons)

18th Century crown by John Campana, Wikimedia Commons

I offer this little story I sometimes tell:

It was probably six years ago when I was in a busy copy shop in Uptown Minneapolis one morning and chanced upon my dear friend “David,” with a little girl at his side, as they were on their way out after making some copies.

He gave me permission to tell this story.

That day, he gave me a warm smile and introduced me to his granddaughter, “Charlotte,” who gave me brief acknowledgement with a quick glance of her eyes. David was in his customary sweater and slacks. Charlotte, probably five years old, kept an imperious air. She had dark hair and eyes, and wore a crisp cotton dress with a belt, white socks and dress shoes. She clutched a doll in one arm. Her other arm was poised, lifted up from the elbow with her wrist tilted back slightly, and her fingers half open and pointing vaguely upward in kind of a regal wave. As I was introduced, she continued to maintain a private space between herself and her grandfather, giving me an impatient but gracious nod, but keeping her head tilted toward her grandfather as if they were being interrupted and were just about to resume their tender private conversation.

I felt a little left out. I usually got much more attention from David, but he, too, seemed to be waiting in suspension for the next sweet moment between himself and his granddaughter, and didn’t talk with me like he usually did. He explained to me while resolutely keeping his eyes on his granddaughter, “We’re having a day together…we have places to go…”

We chatted very briefly a bit longer. Then, I wished them well and bade them goodbye. Watching them leave, I experienced a yearning that I wished I were going along with them, perhaps as a footman who would hold a hand as they alighted from a carriage or dash ahead to open a door.

At a small dinner party recently, I told this story to our other dear friends, our hosts, whose son is expecting his first child, soon. This will make our friends first time grandparents. “I think there is something marvelous about to happen to you,” I said to our friends.

Then, a few days later, I saw my friend David again. Talking together, I reminded him about what happened in the copy shop long ago, and how his granddaughter looked to me as if she was a grand princess sitting on her grandfather’s throne. David got a big heartfelt grin on his face as he remembered that day. Then he said of his granddaughter, who, he noted, is now two months shy of twelve, “She doesn’t need her grandfather’s throne anymore. She has her own. She’s an amazing young woman!”

© 2012 Cristopher Anderson, All Rights Reserved

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