Elijah and Grumpy Old Bumpa

Bumpa, can I be president… or do I have to be a lawyer?

Yes, you can, and no, you don’t. Why would you ask that, Elijah?

‘Cause they’re the only people who count.

Oh, my, Elijah! You were born in a strange time!

Uh-uh! I was nine when I was born. Mom says it was past time. Mom was miserable before I got borned.

She was, Elijah. She sure was.

You’re miserable, Bumpa! Are you pregnant?

No, only young women get pregnant and miserable. Old men just get miserable and grumpy.

Yeah, we’re Minnesotans. When can we go ice fishing?

fish houses of ice fishermen in Minnesota

Grandpa doesn’t do ice fishing. Maybe Uncle Andrew will take you and Calvin together.

Does Uncle Andrew have a fish house?

No. You don’t have to have a fish house to go ice fishing.

But you have to have a big house if you want to be president or a lawyer, right?

Well, no. You don’t have to have a big house to be a lawyer. Some lawyers are street lawyers and public defenders. All lawyers take an oath to protect the constitution.

But some lawyers are bad, right? Like Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani. Grandma says they’re walkin on thin ice. It’s a national emergency!

Yes and no, Elijah. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Giuliani represented or represent the president. The president’s about to fall through the ice for making stuff up.

Yeah, the president’s a national emergency and his lawyers pretend he’s not!

Yes, that’s our opinion.

Right! I changed my mind. I don’t want to be president, Bumpa, and I’m glad I don’t have to be like Michael and Rudy.

Like I said, Elijah, you could be either president or a lawyer, but you don’t have to be. You can be anything you want.

OK! I wanna to be like Uncle Andrew! I can be a ice fisherman right here in Minnesota and grow up to be a grumpy old man. I wanna be like you, Bumpa.

— Grandpa (“Bumpa”) Stewart and Elijah (21 months old), Chaska, MN, February 17, 2019

Elijah and the baby Jesus

Seven-month-old Grandson, Elijah, spent this afternoon with his Uncle Andrew while his Mom and Grandma went to so something special for Grandma’s birthday.

As Uncle Andrew learned, caring for a child who has just learned to crawl poses new challenges for care-givers. Elijah began to crawl earlier this week.

Last night Elijah arrived early at Grandpa and Grandma’s house for Grandma’s birthday party. We had a quick chat before Uncle Andrew and Aunt Alice arrived with his Elijah’s cousin, Calvin (named after Calvin in “Calvin and Hobbes”).

“Grandpa,” asked Elijah with a puzzled look, “what’s a monster?”

Oh, my! You’re too little to know about monsters, Elijah. Monsters are creepy and ugly and really, really scary!  Who told you about monsters?

Uncle Andrew! He said I was becoming a monster! Am I scary, Grandpa?

Did Uncle Andrew laugh when he said you’re becoming a monster? It sounds like humor.

IMG_9340That’s not funny, Grandpa. I wasn’t being a monster. I was just checking stuff out, like the wires to the television and the computer and the lamps and the door to the apartment, just normal stuff I’ve been wanting to check out for a long, long, long, long time. I wasn’t being a monster. 

Sometimes people like Uncle Andrew are kidding with you, Elijah. Like when you surprise them by crawling and getting into things your Mom, Grandma, Uncle Andrew and I didn’t have to worry about before you started crawling.

Whew! So baby Jesus was a monster, too, in Bethlehem. We love Jesus, right Grandpa?

We do, Elijah. But Jesus didn’t become a monster in Bethlehem. He learned to crawl somewhere in Egypt after Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to escape from King Herod who wanted to kill him (Gospel of Matthew 2:13-23).


William Blake ( 1757- 1827) — “The Flight into Egypt” (c.1799)

Wow, that’s awful, Grandpa! Why would a king want to kill a baby? Either King Herod was a real monster or he thought baby Jesus was a scary monster. I’m crawling but I guess I still have lots to learn before I can walk and talk like you, Grandpa.

It’s part of the pattern, Elijah. Like the Christmas Carol we heard this morning on NPR from the King’s College Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols says,

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
And He cares when we are sad,
And he shares when we are glad.

  • Grandpa Gordon, Chaska, MN, Grandma Kay’s birthday, Dec. 23, 2017.