“British Literature” was the course. Walt and I sat, back back back back back of Mr.  Frantz’s class watching the clock. I hadn’t read “The Canterbury Tales”, but did study the Cliffs Notes. Marc hadn’t read the Cliffs Notes, but had studied my paper. 

I don’t recall what we learned that quarter—maybe nothing. I do, though, have my own “Miller’s Tale” to share, and its lesson’s invaluable:

Twice in Max’s first five weeks I found New York. The Bris was eight days out; the Pidyan Ha-ben thereafter. Each was eagerly awaited and Biblically mandated.

I really didn’t know, though—a year ago this month— after the initial pomp and circumstance, after I’d checked out of The Andrew that second time, how often I’d be heading east. It wasn’t my travelling thing, (lifelong aversion to journey). Not at all. Quite frankly, it was …all about the Benjamins. Have you STAYED in a New York hotel lately?

I remember those first trips. I recollect thinking, (quite logically), that I was destined to be not only a long-distance grandfather, but a very, very part-time one. That’s just the way it was, I thought…the way it had to be. Fleeing Ohio post-college, making his way in a realm beyond Cleveland, Michael had effectively set the table for the world to come.

Sometimes, though, God just puts the best people in our paths.

Enter the Millers:

Five years ago they were Meredith’s parents. Those days, alas, are gone. Today Caryn and Stuart are better known as Max’s grandparents. Moreover, they are not only family, but friends.

We learn in recovery that when we get well, when we do well, everyone benefits. Consider, then, The Millers’ Tale.

It wasn’t long after the Pidyan Ha-ben that my phone rang.

“Stuey and I want you to know that you’re always welcome in our home. You just get yourself back here.”

(Was this just a gesture? Did she really mean it?)

“Mi casa es su casa,” she said. It was either Italian or Spanish—what with all the vowels—but I GOT it.

I called Michael.

“Look,” I told him, “I don’t want to take advantage. Were they serious?”
“Yes, Dad—don’t worry. Just come.”

So I did. In a fashion I’d never imagined, a volume I’d never afford—I saw my grandson. Our grandson.

As the snow fell in February…at his Gymworld graduation…

In a swimming pool (before he crawled)…
At Jones Beach (before he walked)…

In a fashion never dreamed of, I WAS a grandfather:

From reading him a book to “sitting” him for an hour one Saturday night, to being there for his first blueberry:

Things he’ll never remember and I’ll never forget.

I’ve many things to be grateful for. As always. Among these, are the Millers. As the year winds down I think more and more how they opened their door.

And opened their door.

Kindness is like a pebble flipped in a brook. There’s a rippling effect.

Who benefits by their largesse? We all do. There is me (of course), and the joy I receive. There are Michael and Meredith…and the east coast family…

And there is Max. Head full of hair, eyes full of smile, he looks up when I enter…

And I think, (I really do), that he knows me.

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