When the phone rang this morning, it was my brother John announcing the birth of his fifth grandchild yesterday. Little Reagan Makala Schneider arrived almost two weeks early, weighed in at 7 lbs. 5 oz., 20 inches long and was enthusiastically welcomed by big sister Becca and big brother Tyson. A new life on the planet!
At noon I headed north to Wellington City Park because I heard there was a birthday party going on. In just a couple of days, Paul Ridnour, long-time Wellington resident, will turn 100 and his family had gathered in the park to celebrate with him. Blue and white balloons, tons of delicious food, little knots of people chatting with each other, relaxing in the sun, kids at play. And there was Paul in the shade at a picnic table in the middle of it all, blue eyes sparkling and with a big smile on his face. At the other end of life, there he was, enjoying the moment.
Eleven of his 12 surviving children were there with their families—enough of them and their offspring, numbering six generations, to pretty much fill up the park. His son Richard, a rancher in Craig said, “Sure I recognize all my siblings, but their offspring—too many—I don’t even try.”
And then there’s the rest of us, somewhere in-between, hanging in there with the ups and downs of what it means to be 10 or 30, 50 or 80 just trying to make sense of it all. I wonder what Paul might have to say to Reagan. I wonder, 100 years from now, what all Reagan will have experienced. Dizzying thought. Impossible to imagine. Don’t even try.
Today is a perfect late summer day to be enjoyed, made more precious because there has already been a bit of snow in the high country and we know that winter will arrive before we know it.