“I’ve often heard the cliche about how childhood comes full circle. We’re born helpless and dependent; we grow, we age, and we die helpless. There are strands connecting the two. A child needs my help carrying heavy things like bags; so does Grandma. But really, childhood and old age are distinct stages. Grandma is right. No age is a destination, just a place we are actively traveling through. Childhood is lived intrinsically. Old age is felt more discerningly and often negatively. It’s a place many of us don’t get to visit, yet paradoxically a place easily taken for granted. Old age is often an assumption. We all think we’ll get there. Lots of us don’t.”
Iain Reid is another one of the authors I may have the pleasure of meeting at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April. This book was like a travelogue version of Tuesdays With Morrie, except less sad. Iain Reid takes his grandma on a trip, though it’s really just a roadtrip from her home in Ottawa to his home in Kingston, a “travels in your own backyard” kind of experience. It’s less about what they see and more about the memories they uncover, the Grandma being 92 years old, slowly remembering funny, random, or important stories from her expansive life.
There’s a lot to be learned from this book. Maybe some of the feelings and wisdom Grandma imparts are only things that can be learned with age – the appreciation of the smallest, littlest thing, the lowered expectations about finding meaning in everything, the general love of the people and places that make up a life being what makes a life great, not necessarily how much was accomplished on a grand scale.
It’s something even a young generation such as mine should remind ourselves of. That perhaps we don’t feel like we’re significant or we matter in a grand scheme of things, but if we were to remove ourselves from existence as if we’d never been born, much like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, and to see how many lives we have affected – that’s what makes a life great. So much of our time is spent wondering how our contributions to a general workforce even matter, and how we’re going to make an impact on our world, but it all matters. Even something as simple as Iain Reid taking his 92 year old grandmother on a cheap, non-elaborate trip, ended up meaning a lot to the two of them.
I’m overly sentimental this cold Sunday morning so close to Christmas, so I’ll end this review. I’m so far behind my fellow Bookstravaganza-ers and don’t think I’ll reach my goal of 15 – it seems more likely at this point I’ll repeat last year’s achievement of 10 books. Expect many titles in my current stack to repeat themselves next year…
Books read: 6