Life lessons from Grandpa Jonesy - Volume One

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My Dad is a pretty awesome human being.   Although I’m sure when he finds out I wrote about him on the internet he will be less than pleased.   Being raised by him was full of so many amazing life lessons, I plan to share the PG-rated ones over the course of a few posts.   First I should introduce you, I wish it could be in person, he is colorful and lots of fun.  When I was in high school he could tell just by shaking hands with my friends what their astrological sign was.  He was also a whiz at whipping up a numerology chart with just a birthday and full name.   Although my Dad never once told me who I should or shouldn’t be friends with, he would offer insight into their nature based on the stars and numbers and dang if it wasn’t spot on and very helpful.   So here you go, a little more of Jonesy’s wisdom from the past 38 years.   

1. When I was in 6th grade I had the amazing experience that all girls that age have, Aunt Flo came knocking for the first time.  There are so many ways parents over time have marked this occasion, in my case my father was so excited that he immediately called up his best friend. The conversation went something like this, “Guess what, Christy can’t go in the ocean anymore because the sharks will get her”.   Let’s just take a brief pause here to let that line sink in nice and deep.                                                   

 

 (((((((pause)))))))))                                                                      

 

Are you mortified? I was.  Oh, my goodness if a person could spontaneously combust I would have.   The horror of another grown man knowing about my period, and the added terror that THE SHARKS ARE GOING TO GET ME.   I lived in Utah people, it is landlocked, there is no ocean nearby, we didn’t even touch a state that touched an ocean, but you can bet I was extra cautious around swimming pools from that day forward.   Looking back on it I love the enthusiasm from my Dad, he was genuinely excited to share the news.  I do this as a parent as well, circle up my friends to celebrate the milestones. That community aspect of parenting is so important.   Not to mention when sharks may be involved you’ll want to let other people know.   

2.   As an adult, I am constantly freaking random strangers out by striking up random conversations.   This skill comes straight from Jonesy, he is the king of fun and awkward stranger interaction.   I learned at an early age that it was wonderful to make connections with perfect strangers, even just for a moment.   I do it all the time, it’s totally unconscious but often I’m left with a huge bounce in my step when I get to have a fun conversation with someone I might never see again, I hope it leaves them with a smile as well.  I hope my boys pick up this fun life skill, offhand observations and conversation are wonderful icebreakers.  

3.    My childhood was filled with road trips, we drove all over Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Arizona with brief trips to many other states and one especially long drive from Utah to Florida.   It was hot in those cars, no AC and western summers make for some sweaty armpits. But do you know what?   I can still imagine the change in smell as we would enter southern Oregon, or how the air was so crackling dry in the deserts of Southern Utah and Arizona.   I have a sensory impression of these places that is deeper than the visual and wasn’t cushioned by air conditioning.   We were never just headed to a destination, the entire trip was where we were going.   My Dad would pull over so we could wander through the Joshua Tree forest or see a sign for a waterfall and turn off for an impromptu hike.   The only timetable we had was the beginning and end dates, everything in the middle was up for grabs.   So many incredible memories were made, not at the tourist destinations, but in between.   My Dad is famous for saying “we will cross that bridge when we get to it”, he wasn’t one for making plans which can be frustrating, but also amazing since it leaves time for unexpected pleasure.   

There is so much more to share, but I’ll save it for another time.   So go out, share the milestones of everyday life with friends, strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know and drive around aimlessly to find a hidden treasure.   While you’re at it, howl in the wind, that’s what Jonesy would do, all with a smile while throwing a peace sign.  

Christy Bartelt