When I was very, very small, my grandfather would hold up his watch. Hear it? He’d say. Hear the tick tick tick?
He was born on this day in 1889. And when my own son was born in 1989, I was proud to hold up that same watch that I’d wound for just that purpose.
My grandfather had several gifts to give: the wisdom to know what to pass along, the inclination to pass it, and the talent to do it well. He was a former teacher who knew that life is a lesson and a game, both, and he possessed the divine sense to give these gifts to any child who would take them. He died when I was too young yet to thank him, so I try hard to pass along what I remember and hope it is thanks enough.
Now I look at my son who is studying to be a teacher. Born 100 years after his great grandfather. Learning to be a real man in his own right, nurtured by teachers, coaches, his girlfriend’s father who is both. Hear the watch, my son?
I believe he did. He heard.
And only now do I know. That tick tick tick was the sound of immortality.