Greetings from Elijah

Video

Elijah is with Grandma this morning. On the verge of crawling, but not quite getting the hang of it, he’s sending greetings and a smile to Grandpa. Grandpa shares it here with other news-weary gluttons of punishment on Views from the Edge. Families are always a little whacked! Sometimes, to preserve the bonds of affection, we’d all be better off if we couldn’t talk. ūüôā

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, December 8, 2017.

Elijah and his first cousin

Featured

Grandpa, I have a new cousin!

Calvin2

Newborn Calvin — Elijah’s first cousin

Yes, I know. Calvin was born last week. He’s beautiful!

Yeah. What’s a cousin?

Well, you seem pretty excited, so I thought you must know what a cousin is. But since you asked, Calvin is the child born to your mother’s brother, Andrew, and your Aunt Alice. Because he’s your mother’s brother’s child, that makes Calvin your first cousin.

But he wasn’t borned, Grandpa. He was taken.

What do you mean? Of course, he was born. By the way, he was born, not borned. You’ll learn about tenses later.

Okay. Whatever. Mom was pretty tense when Calvin was borned because he wasn’t borned; he was taken by Caesar.

 

julius-caesar-9192504-1-402

Julius Caesar

Oh, my, Elijah! Where’d you learn about Caesar? Caesar didn’t “take” him; Calvin was taken by Cesarian section. It’s a medical procedure, not a kidnapping.

Yeah, so Calvin never got to be borned like me. He never had to fight his way into the world like I did. I’ll teach him how to fight, Grandpa. He’s my first cousin, my little cousin.

It’s much more complicated than that, Elijah. Someday you’ll understand it better. It wasn’t that Calvin wasn’t fighting his way through the birth canal; your Aunt Alice’s blood pressure became dangerously high. You’re lucky to have Calvin for your cousin. And he lives just a mile away from you and Mom. You’ll get to play with each other all the time.

Do you have a first cousin, Grandpa?

I do, Elijah. Lots of them. But, when I was growing up, all my first cousins lived far, far away in Maine and Massachusetts. We lived in Pennsylvania. We only got to play with each other for two weeks every summer when my parents took me there on vacation. You’re fortunate, Elijah! You and Calvin are both blessed to have each other. So are Grandma and Grandpa.

That’s sad, Grandpa. That’s really sad. But you’re not making sense. You said “first cousins“. Calvin’s my first cousin. You can’t have more than one first cousin. Sometimes i worry you’re losing it, Grandpa. But even if you are, my first cousin Calvin and my other cousins, if I have any, will take care of you and Grandma. I promise!

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, December 8, 2017

 

 

Grandpa, I can’t take it anymore!

Featured

 

Elijah_9146What can’t you take, Elijah?

You-Know-Who!

No, I don’t. You said you can’t take “it” anymore. Not “who”. What are you talking about?

Grandpa, I can’t take “it” anymore because You-Know-Who is making me cry!

I’m sorry, but I still don’t know who “who” is. Who’s “who”?

Grandpa, you’re supposed to know this stuff!!!

Well, communication’s a very tricky thing, Elijah, as you’re finding out. You can”t assume other people know what you mean by “it” and “You-Know-Who”. They don’t unless you spell it out. Clear communication depends on you.

No. Depends are for adults, Grandpa; we discussed this yesterday. Huggies are for us. Your generation wears Depends; my generation wears Huggies. And President You-Know-Who is taking away all the huggies your generation is supposed to give the next generation.

Ah, so now you’re speaking more clearly! You-Know-Who is President You-Know-Who, the president whose name your babysitter refuses to say out loud like all the curse words she’s teaching you not to use. So now I know who “who” is. But I still don’t know what “it” is? What is “it” you can’t take anymore, Elijah?

Grandpa, you know! “Who” and “it” are the same thing. You-Know-Who just made an announcement in Utah — something about cutting bears’ ears and shrinking grand staircases. He thinks they’re too big. How big can bears ears be? He just keeps wrecking stuff. And he’s all in for that guy from Alabama! What’s with that?

Oh, you mean Roy Moore?

Yeah, Roy Moore, the 10 Commandments guy.

Bill Day Moore cartoon

Bill Day cartoon – The 10 Commandments and Roy Moore

He’s not a 10 Commandments guy, Elijah. Neither is You-Know-Who. They only know one commandment and they think it’s about them: “I am the LORD, your God. You shall have no other gods before me.” That’s the First Commandment.

Yeah! “Love yourself only,¬†and feel free to abuse women, teenage girls, and Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monuments in Utah.”

171203220157-bears-ears-hoodoos-large-169

Bears Ears National Monument

I’m glad we had this talk, Elijah. You’ve made yourself clear. I can’t take “it” or You-Know-Who anymore either. “It” seems to get worse every day.

But remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, Elijah. We all need to take a break and remember who’s God.

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, Dec. 5, 2017.

 

 

 

Elijah and President You-Know-Who

Featured

IMG_8373

Elijah asks Grandpa about President You-Know-Who

Grandpa, is President You-Know-Who an adult?

Yes, Elijah, he’s 71 years old. You have to be an adult to president. The Constitution says so. You have to be at least 35. Why?

Marissa says he’s a brat. I thought all brats were children.

No, some brats are adults. Some people just never grow up. They think the whole world is centered on them. I don’t want you to grow up thinking that!

Mom told me that last night when I was acting like a brat!

Elijah, I think you must have misunderstood Mom. No six-month old is a brat. You just have needs that sometimes demand a lot of Mom’s attention.

Yeah, like when I need my diapers changed. Does President You-Know-Who’s Mom ever change his diapers, Grandpa?¬†

No, Elijah. He stopped wearing diapers many years ago.

Hmmm. That’s weird.

00705601_zzz_1Why? Why is it weird? President You-Know-Who’s an adult. Only incontinent adults wear diapers for adults. They’re called Depends.

Maybe he needs to get Depends. Marissa says he’s making a mess of the whole world. Like those videos he put out that Marissa and Theresa May in England said were really childish! He’s making a huge mess, Grandpa!

Yes, he is, Elijah. But, I guess it all depends on . . . . and before he’s impeached, I might need some Depends.

eb64737c-4e82-4dd4-8a1c-537716b6f72f.png.w240Grandpa, don’t do that. I use Huggies. You can depend on me. I’m a child, but I’m not childish. Like Jesus said, “a little child shall lead them.”

It wasn’t Jesus who said that, Elijah. It was Isaiah.

Whatever! I’ll talk to Mom. We’ll lend you some of my Huggies.

  • Grandpa Gordon with Elijah, Chaska, December 3, 2017.

 

 

 

Elijah: Grandpa, what’s surreal mean?

Featured

The_Elephant_Celebes

The Elephant Celebes by Max Ernst. Oil on canvas. 125.4 x 107.9 cm. Tate Gallery, London.

Grandpa, what’s surreal?

Where’d you get that word? You’re only five months old!

I heard it on the news. Some flake from Arizona said it.

1200px-Jeff_Flake_official_Senate_photo_(cropped)

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Well, it wasn’t “some flake,” Elijah! It was Senator Jeff Flake, and he’s not a flake.¬†Flakes are like snowflakes. You haven’t seen snowflakes yet but it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. You’ll see. Snowflakes fall from the sky, turn everything white, and then they disappear.

Did Jeff Flake disappear? He’s white. Is he surreal?

No, Elijah, he hasn’t disappeared and he’s not about to disappear.

So…what are you talking about? You’re not making sense, Grandpa!

Well, Jeff Flake was saying what thinking people know: what’s happening in the world right now is surreal.

That’s what I asked you!!! What’s ‘surreal’?

Life is, Elijah! You’re only five months old. ¬†You’ve never known anything but the surreal world. It’s the world that has “the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a¬†dream; unreal; fantastic” (Dictionary.com).¬†Life itself has become surreal.

Grandpa, are elephants real?

Yes, why?

‘Cause Marissa doesn’t’ like elephants. She says they’re mean and out of touch with reality. Are elephants like snowflakes?

No, Elijah. Elephants are real. But some elephants, like the one Marissa is talking about, are . . . ¬†well . . . ¬†surreal and deranged. They want the whole world to be white. They’re snowflakes.

Yeah, but not like Jeff Flake. Jeff Flake’s no flake!

Right, Elijah. He’s like Max Ernst and the Surrealists who exposed the underlying insanity by painting it. Jeff Flake painted it with words.

IMG_1779 E 5 monthsThanks, Grandpa. This whole conversation has been surreal. I love words!

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, Oct. 26, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Elijah and his sitter’s text

Featured

Grandpa, my babysitter was crying today.

IMG_1779 E 5 months

Elijah (five months old)

I’m sorry, Elijah. Why was she crying?

Marissa’s cousin in Puerto Rico sent a text five days ago but Marissa didn’t get it until this morning. She was crying hard, Grandpa! It was really sad.

What did the text say, Elijah?

I thought you’d ask, so I asked Marissa to print it out ’cause you’re old. You don’t text so good.

‘Well’, Elijah, I want you to learn to speak proper English. You should say, “You don’t text so well” — not “you don’t text so good.”

Yeah, well, you say ‘well’ a lot. That’s not good. Well, here’s what Marissa’s text from Puerto Rico said. It’s not good.

Month 2. Day 1.

No power

We have running water

Telecommunications are fair on the best of days. I consider it successful if I can consistently get 2mb down. Today it’s about 0.13mb.

Traffic is insane

Fuel lines are better

Shopping takes hours

We are the lucky ones, the privileged ones. It’s not better, progress is slow, medical care is impossible for many.

We are here. We need your help. Keep pressure on news organizations, on elected officials, and aid organizations. Use your voice for people who have been silenced.

Grandpa! We’re gonna help, right? Are we ‘privileged’?

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, October 24, 2017

Elijah: “Dear Mr. President”

Featured

Elijah’s Letter to the President

September 30 , 2017

Dear Mr. President,

I’m in my carseat for my first road trip to the cabin up north, but Grandpa shared with me the letter he just sent you. I’m proud of my grandpa and I want to be proud of you. Grandpa says you’re sort of like an uncle because you went through Presbyterian confirmation class like grandpa.

But my babysitter doesn’t like you. She speaks Spanish. During the day with Marissa, we’ve been watching CNN for news from Puerto Rico, and she’s said a lot of bad words about you.

She clapped when Mayor of San Juan¬†Carmen Yul√≠n Cruz called you out. Then, this morning, she cursed again after you admonished the Carmen. Marissa’s with Carmen.

I’m only 18 weeks old. I’m still trying to understand what’s real and what’s not. Right now I’m not sure of much of anything. I trust Grandpa and I trust Marissa. They both love me and take care of me. Both Grandpa and Marissa are as upset with you as the Mayor of San Juan in Puerto Rico.

I see the pictures from Puerto Rico and think you must, too, because you watch a lot of television, even if you consider CNN fake news. I’m little and don’t know much yet, but the pictures don’t look fake to me. And it’s not just pictures. It’s all over the radio. Marissa listens to NPR.

NPR’s Manadalit del Barco spoke to 8-year-old Yan Anthony Hernandez who is staying at a shelter in the city of Aguadilla on Puerto Ruco’s northwestern coast. The boy had a message for Trump.

“Stop tweeting and come help the people.”

Marissa wants to know whether you really care about Yan, the Mayor, and the rest of the people of Puerto Rico or just want them to go away like the undocumented workers you’re sending back to Mexico.

Sometimes Marissa sings to me. “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world — red and yellow, black and white — all are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the wold.” Grandpa says maybe your babysitter sang that song for you when you were little like me, but I wonder.

If you have time to write back, I’ll share your response with Marissa and Grandpa and have them make another copy to send to Carmen in Puerto Rico.

Respectfully,

Elijah (18 weeks old)

Grandson of Grandpa Stewart

 

 

 

Grandpa, did the president say that?

Featured

Elijah and HarveyElijah and I were watching the President’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly when suddenly Elijah sat bolt upright.

Grandpa, did he really say that?

Say what, Elijah? He’s said a lot of things.

Trump at United NationsDid he just call Kim Jung Un “Rocket Man”?

Yes, he did, Elijah.

That’s not right! You told me never to call people names. Then he said he would destroy his country! He sounds like a bully. You taught me bullying’s bad, right Grandpa?

Right. Bullying is bad. It’s always bad. The president just embarrassed every American.

And then he insulted all our allies whose countries are socialist. All our European allies are socialist, right Grandpa? Israel’s socialist, right Grandpa?

That’s right, Elijah. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He still believes in the Boogeyman.

Boogeyman_posterWell, I think he’s acting like the Boogeyman. Don’t ever leave me in the same room with the president, Grandpa. He’s mean. He’s scary!

Don’t worry, Elijah, President Trump will never take care of you. Mom will. Grandma and I will. Your baby sitter will. And the world leaders will babysit Mr. Trump.

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, September 21, 2017.

 

Grandpa, I’m special, right?

On his 14th (week) birthday Elijah was watching Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood¬†this morning.

51IO0pzdoqL._AC_UL320_SR226,320_Grandpa, Mr. Rogers says I’m special! I love Mr. Rogers!

We all love Mr. Rogers, Elijah. We all do!

Yeah! He’s a Presbyterian minister just like you, right Grandpa?

Yes, he was. And, like all Presbyterian ministers, Rev. Rogers made mistakes.

Like what?

Like telling you you’re ‘special’.

What you talking’ about? I AM special. Mr. Rogers makes me feel good.

I understand that and I’m glad. I just wish he’d used a different word than ‘special’ because none of us is ‘special’. You’re unique, Elijah. No one will ever be just like you. But that doesn’t mean you’re ‘special’.

You don’t like Mr. Rogers! I don’t like you! You’re a poop-head!

Sometimes I am, Elijah. I know I’m a poop-head sometimes. We all are, and that’s my point. We’re all in this together. None of us is special. Each of us is precious. Each of us is loved. I just wish he’d said ‘precious’ instead of ‘special’ because ‘special’ leads people to think they’re ‘exceptional’. You know, better than anyone else.

Mr. Rogers doesn’t mean that! Everyone’s welcome in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, even Mr. McFeely!

Well, even Mr. Rogers is a sinner, Elijah. He should never have named the mailman Mr. McFeely.

enhanced-buzz-6528-1363800770-6

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, August 28, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Grandpa, are we safe?

Grandpa and Elijah are talking while pictures of Hurricane Harvey are disturbing 14-week old Elijah.

170825133856-01-hurricane-harvey-0824-exlarge-169

“Grandpa, are we safe? Are we in Houston?”

“No, Elijah. Not to worry. We’re in Minnesota, a long way from Texas. It’s ‘nice’ in Minnesota.”

“Okay, I feel safer. But am I legal?”

“What do you mean, legal?”

“Like . . . ¬†can I be arrested?”

“No, you’re not going to be arrested. You’re not illegal.”

“We’re a country of law, right, Grandpa?”

“Yes, we’re a constitutional republic. We live under the protection of the law.”

Elijah and Harvey

Elijah, “Uh-uh!”

“Uh-uh! That Sheriff profiled people in Arizona! He broke the law and the President pardoned him! Pardon me, but that’s not law. Why’d the President do that when there’s a natural disaster in Texas?”

“Well, the timing of it is scary, Elijah. Maybe we’re not so safe after all.”

“What do ya mean? Is Hurricane Harvey coming here? Is Joe Arpaio coming to Minnesota to look for illegals?”

“No, they’re not coming here, Elijah. The issue is the rule of law itself. Charles Kaiser argues that “Donald Trump‚Äôs pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio marks the real beginning of the coming constitutional crisis in America.” It’s a piece by Charles Kaiser. I read it this morning on Bill Moyers & Company.”

636210386015065550-arpaioandtrump

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and President Trump

“What’s a constitutional crisis? Is that worse than Hurricane Harvey?”

Screen-Shot-2016-12-01-at-10.31.01-AM

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, August 28, 2017.