Dave Simpson: Grab The Special Times Before They're Gone

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "These are precious moments. Whenever my grandkids have a Hershey's Kisses peanut butter cookie, I'm betting they'll remember Gramps, and the good times we had. Grab those special times."

Dave Simpson

February 26, 20244 min read

Dave simpson head 10 3 22
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It was the last afternoon of the last day of the last weekend of a summer that was darned near perfect.

To mark the end of summer, the three of us walked out onto the concrete pier at the little beach where we'd spent just about every lazy vacation afternoon. The kids caught crayfish that summer, built sand castles and made friends. I enjoyed a good book, planted in a folding chair under a beach umbrella, a couple of Old Styles chilling in the cooler.

“Let's do this every year, to mark the end of another great summer together,” I said to my two grade-school age kids, my daughter two years older than my son. They happily agreed.

 Both were excellent swimmers. No worries there. I was there for every session of “Moms and Tots Swimming Lessons” for both of them at our local YWCA, the only mom in the group with a hairy chest.

We grabbed hands and jumped off the dock together, savoring the final plunge of summer, bobbing to the surface, laughing and swimming back to the beach. It would be back to reality the next day, back to school for the kids, back to work for me.

Every year I'd take a picture of them at the beach, holding up their arms and making Charles Atlas biceps for the camera. I have those pictures in a box somewhere, favorite memories.

I wanted to jump in the lake with my kids at the end of every summer. I wanted those good times to last forever.

But, it wasn't to be. In fact it never happened again.

The next year my daughter was going into junior high, with lots of friends in our neighborhood, and she had much cooler things to do than travel hundreds of miles to jump off a dock with her dad and her little brother. She had been part of many long winter weekends up north, swimming at a local lodge. We always got doughnuts at the lodge bakery at the end of the afternoon.

 But then those long weekends weren't as important to her as events at home with her friends.

The first time my son and I went to swim at that lodge without her, I said, “It isn't as much fun without your sister.” He replied, “Yeah, but let's not tell her.”

It was just the first hint of what was to come. Of dad not being the big deal he once was. Of high school and activities. Of heading off to college, deciding what the heck they wanted to be, of storing their junk in my garage, and maybe seeing them at Christmas.

 And maybe not.

There were precious memories of time spent together, and when we gathered years later to bury my mother - their grandmother - we went down to our favorite beach, and I took a picture of them – young adults by then - flexing their Charles Atlas biceps. Just like when they were little. That picture is framed and hanging on my wall.

The beach, by then, was choked with weeds. Not like before. Time marches on. And we haven't been back since. Kind of sad.

These days, the two little people I like to spend precious moments with are my granddaughters, ages three and five, red hair, blue eyes, getting comfortable in the pool just like their mom at their age, and always ready to bake Hershey's Kisses peanut butter cookies when Gramps comes to visit.

The older granddaughter remembers the time I turned the mixer on too fast, and blew flour all over our faces and the kitchen. Her little sister unwraps the Kisses while the cookies bake, and re-routes more than a few into her mouth. We always take a picture of the cookies cooling on a rack, with my able assistants looking on. Big smiles.

 Every visit, we bake cookies. It's a rule.

What a joy being grandparents. Well worth the wait.

Lots of precious moments to remember. Just like my son and daughter and I jumping off that dock, holding hands, celebrating the end of a perfect summer.

Special times that are way too fleeting.

We grab them and hold on tight.

Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@hotmail.com

Share this article



Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.