Saw a pack of youngsters, all looking at their phones, such a different way of growing up, and I wondered, will their brains turn out different than mine?
Even among my age peers, I wonder if other people wonder like I wonder. There are people I’ve known, in all the time spent together, I never heard them ask a question. I wonder how they learn anything. A question is like a loaded fork and an open mouth, don’t mean you have to swallow it, but at least show evidence that you’re mentally hungry.
I Wonder About Aging
This weekend I sat at a table with three elders on the family tree. Two were in their 80’s and one was early 90’s. I asked about this, I asked about that, but I never asked about something that I often wonder about, “What’s it like to be your age?” I’d really like to know.
Even as a kid, I was always asking my elders questions. The older you were, the better. Just common sense to me, a living, breathing, eyewitness to a slice of history, and all I had to do, was ask… Makes me wonder, if by grace ‘o God I get to live to be an ole dude, will someone do unto me as I did unto others… It’d sure be a waste of a fine accumulation of information.
Anybody ever wonder what good we did? So far? If any? It’d be just like God, you get to heaven, and there find out all the people you helped, and not just the close ones. I wonder how many would just be acquaintances, or even strangers, maybe they were the accidental audience, of some little thing you did… or didn’t.
Every generation is a herd of its own. Often their identity glue is a shared trauma, The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, that kinda thing. I wonder about the Political Correctness generation. They seemed greatly agitated by little nothings of feelings and phrasing. I wonder how fast all that silliness would go, if some great trial were suffered upon them.
I don’t wish it upon them, but sooner or later, it will come. Pendulum, cycle of life, soft reaping what soft sows…
I wonder what America will be like in my old age. A friend of mine, his grandmother getting old in the 1960’s, she’d just shake her head, and say, “Thank God I’m on my way out.” I wonder if that’s pretty universal, for each generation. Old enough to have seen better, but old enough to know that once something’s in motion, it’s powerful impossible to steer, until it meets its consequence.
I Wonder If God Watches TV
Not the trashy stuff, but I could see Him taking a break from doing all that God stuff to catch an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
Andy, “It’s a big step.”
Barney, “Last big buy I made was my Mom and Dad’s anniversary gift.”
Andy, “Whatcha git em?”
Barney, “Septic tank.”
Andy, “For their anniversary?”
Barney, “They’re really hard to buy for. Besides, it’s something they can really use. Two tons of concrete. All steel reinforced.”
Andy, “You’re a fine son.”
Barney, “I try.”
Yeah, I could see God tuning in for that, or least tell some angel, “Come get Me when they get to the septic tank scene.”
I Wonder About Heaven
I wonder if everybody is movie star pretty and handsome Up There, or are we stuck with the same package we had down here? I wonder what age we are up there. I won’t recognize my grandparents if they’re young, and I don’t want them to call me Sir if I’m this age.
I wonder if there will be pets in heaven. Regarding who needed the least forgiveness, between me and my dogs, it ain’t even close.
I wonder if all our questions will be answered in heaven. I got some Whys that if answered would fill an encyclopedia set. Mine, yours, everybody’s, that could sure cause a bottleneck during orientation. But then, y’know, heaven, eternity, time really isn’t the issue.
I’m curious about my ancestors. Down here, we’re always on ‘n on about The Greatest Generation, but I’d like to meet their grandparents. I bet there’s some serious quality up the line. I wonder if there’s some long genealogical awareness up there. Some ole dude with an Old Testament white beard, carrying a staff, I wonder if he’ll walk up to me and introduce himself, say, “I’m your paternal ancestor. I was there when they invented the wheel.”
Wondering About Our Times
Sometimes I wonder if that sound I’m hearing are the Founding Fathers of America, rolling over in their graves. When I was a kid there was much hand wringing over the national debt. “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” (E. Dirksen.) Nowadays, hardly a peep or squeak over a debt in the trillions. Government is like bad parents, who can’t tell the kids No. If someday we had to pay the national debt, I wonder if we could just square up with China by giving them California. There’s parts I’d miss, but y’know… If they took Disney, we’d insist they have to take O.J. too.
Common sense thrives in hard times. I wonder if common sense will soon be found only in Third World countries.
Ever wonder how many humans can fit on earth? I think we’re up into the seven billion range. We could be at ten billion in the lifetime of some of you. Next stop fifteen, then twenty… Tomorrow, randomly look at the first twenty people you see, and ask yourself, “What would these people do if the grocery stores were empty?”
Ever wonder how much money has crossed your path in a lifetime? Like, down to the penny? I bet it’d be a shocker.
I wonder what it’s like for an atheist at the end of life. I got as far as agnostic, and that was plenty far. It’s faith either way, but I’d rather vote for something that aspires to something greater than the fat lady singing That’s All She Wrote.
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to the proposition that next to our souls, our minds are our greatest gift. By wondering, we exercise it.
To order copies of the Volume I collection of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide phone number and we’ll mail copies to you.