INKLINGS: On being cool, at any age

  • Thursday, December 1, 2011

It was the last day of November in 1993 when the phone call came. I was in my Town Hall office and THE message rang out over the line loud and clear: I’d just been promoted to grandma! Naturally I handled this missive in a mature and befitting manner, immediately jumping up and dashing down the stairs. Eighteen years ago I was capable of both activities.          
Spreading this good tiding of great joy I hugged everybody I could get my hands on, including one startled lady who had merely dropped in to ask a zoning question. I danced then Town Administrator Jack Wilbanks around his desk, and high-fived a couple of street department workers who declared my new status “totally cool!” It was the first time I ever felt I really was.
That curly haired blond baby with the big blue eyes now towers over Grandma Barbara, speaks in a deep voice and leads our six-pack of cherished grands, who range down to three years old. Jimmy Gatch is going to college next year accompanied by a birthday gift from his parents to help launch him in his desired career.
 “It sounds like butter,” Jimmy crooned in another memorable phone call this week. “It’s absolutely incredible.” The object of his affection is a professional acoustic/electric guitar. Jimmy’s been studying guitar since he was 11, using one his parents got him at a silent auction. He’s a born musician – not surprising as both of his parents are as well. The guitar is his favorite instrument, and he uses it in school, in his own band, and as the vehicle for the songs he writes. He also makes good grades, has been his high school band’s drum major for two years and sings in his church choir. Jimmy has stars in his eyes – but thanks to his excellent (I say proudly) parental influence – also has his feet firmly on the ground. He wants to study music and business so he can not only nurture his innate talent but learn how to make it work best for him.
“We knew it was time to upgrade him into a really good sound,” said his mother, our daughter Mary Clare. She and her husband Mike searched everywhere, finally found what they wanted and were disappointed to be told that was “absolutely no way” to get it shipped in time for his big birthday. They are in the midst of moving and changing jobs and schools, so have little free time. At the eleventh hour, someone from the shipping company (perhaps another parent of an aspiring musician?) relented, agreeing to wait at the Columbia airport if someone could “come right away and get it.” Jimmy’s other set of (cool) grands, who live in Lexington, immediately went to retrieve the huge box and were a big part of the surprise presentation.
Jimmy’s reaction?
“I’m so grateful and it’s actually inspiring,” he told me. “Since music is my main option in college, this could allow me to write songs in different genres and get to know what the appeal is for each of them. I’ve always loved guitar and wanted to learn to play it well and be one of those really cool kids.”
In our view, he already is.

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