Hodge Podge with Charlie Hodge – October 18th

Timing is not everything in life – but it certainly has its significance.Whether by intent or simply by life unfolding as it will, time has a way of sneaking up on us or passing away before we are really ready. Like the weather it is not always predictable or perfect.Last night, as I sat propped up by three pillows and feeling very cozy due to a warm comforter and a snuggling four-year old granddaughter, I marvelled at how time also has a way of coming full circle and providing us with unforeseen moments of joy.  After all – life does not get much better than snuggling up, eating ice cream, and watching Alvin and the Chipmunks.As Teresa and I chuckled at the video, and the delightful facial expressions and gurgles of laughter from four year old Taylor, my mind spun back to a similar scenario many moons ago.At age 36, I was starting to actually think I was getting old when stepdaughter Shauna brought me my first grand-child Chelsea.  From the day wee ‘Chelser’ arrived my world was filled with a rediscovered wonderment and love for life. Having not raised any of my own genetic siblings from birth I had missed many of the parental pleasures (and pains) that parenthood could provide. My marriage at that time to Sharon, however, allowed me the opportunity to experience that pleasure through granddaughter Chelsea.Like most youngsters Chelsea evolved through the normal cycles of growth, discovery, and life’s lessons. Her inquisitive nature, joy of new discoveries, and daily unravelling of life’s mysteries meant that our guardianship was far from dull. I routinely enjoyed being privy to her many accomplishments and occasional failures as life plodded along as it should.Naturally, I still maintain she was the sweetest little girl ever, though Taylor is now threatening to challenge for that title. Four year olds have that ability – especially in their newly discovered ability to carry out full sentence conversations and analysis.Chelsea provided a plethora of gut splitting lines over the years – especially between ages 4 to 10.One of my favourites was when we were riding on a bus home along the ocean near Qualicum Beach when a sweet woman attempted to engage Chelsea. Looking out the window at the incoming tide, the woman said,”Oh, look at the pretty water!” To which Chelsea, in her confident, know –it-all, condescending voice gently patted the woman on her shoulder and clarified, “That’s NOT the water, that’s the Ocean.” The entire bus roared in appreciation at that wisdom.Soon after Chelsea grew up, and I started to get old again.Thankfully, soon after Teresa and I were married stepdaughter Lisa brought granddaughter Taylor into our world, and for Teresa and I the chuckles of childhood revisited returned to our life. As comedian Art Linkletter once said,”Kids do say the darnedest things.”A few months ago Taylor was visiting another relative and obviously whatever she had consumed food wise had caused her tummy to have an argument with itself. The result was apparently a series of rather loud gaseous explosions. The relative responded two or three times with words such as, ‘Oh my – did you fart?’, ‘whoops’, and, ‘say excuse me’. Finally after about her fourth or fifth gas blast, Taylor turned to her critic and with exaggerated raised arms and a look of total bafflement said, “Where are all these farts coming from?”Last month, shortly after her fourth birthday (when conversations and logic often collide) Taylor came to visit and immediately sought out her best friend in the world, Max the Cat. Max, as he is prone to do of late, had tried to seek solace behind the couch but the probing, wiggly arms of Taylor found him. As he was dragged reluctantly from beneath his safe space Grandma Teresa asked, “Is Max your best buddy?”“Yeth.”“Well, what about Grandpa – is he your buddy?”“No, don’t be silly Grandma – Grandpa can’t be my buddy,” Taylor replied, obviously agitated with the dumb question.Well why not?“Cause Grandpa is not a cat and only cats can be your buddy,” she announced.Of course. Silly Grandma.So last night, after finished playing with snails and things, we settled in to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks.  Part way through the show as the three of us chuckled at the three furry critters singing a song – Taylor said,”That’s silly.”“What is,” I asked innocently.“Everyone knows that Chipmunks can’t sing,” she announced.“Yeah I guess talking chipmunks are sort of silly, eh,” I offered.Taylor stared at me with her best ‘you really are a moron aren’t you’ look and said somewhat exasperated. “Of course they can talk Grandpa, but they can’t sing!”Silly Grandpa.A little later, after Taylor and Teresa had gone to sleep, I sat marvelling at the evening’s special moments. It was then I realized how time had once again blessed me.Many years after Chelsea has grown up, I have been blessed to rediscover childhood through the eyes of four year old Taylor. And as an additional bonus, I am guaranteed to remain in kid-mode for another eight or ten years since granddaughter Chelsea (age 22 last week) recently become a Mom to wee Arya. That means as a great-grandpa I will likely get to watch Alvin and crew again in the very near future, chase kitty cats, and talk about farts.Who needs a fountain of youth or an elixir of non ageing – I’ve got Taylor and Arya.It doesn’t get much better than this.Hmm, I wonder what other kid’s movie we have kicking around the house?

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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