I remember the first time it happened. It was a woman visiting my church. I was a bit perturbed but tried not to show it.
The telephone repair guy was the second one. I was defiant. Nope, “Mine,” I pointed.
The third time, my attitude was pretty matter-of-fact, as I caught a supposedly tethered baby unleashed while we were sitting at a concert in Washington Park. The guy said, “Thanks, gramps.” He assumed, as the others did, that my child was my grandchild. It is, if I’m being rational about it, understandable. I was 51 when I had Lydia. My father was 52 when my sister Leslie had her daughter Becky.
Of course, the point of mentioning this is not to protect my fragile ego – I’m all right now, thanks – but to note that one should avoid jumping to conclusions about these things without the facts.
This conversation, strangely, reminds me of something the wedding planner asked at Carol’s and my wedding in 1999. “Are your parents alive and still married to each other?”
“Are any of your grandparents still alive?”
“No, all deceased.”
I knew she wasn’t saying that it was good that our grandparents were all dead, merely that it was one less logistical issue to consider. It was too funny a comment to really offend us. But it was a dopey thing to say, and I hope she never said that to someone more easily offended.