Summer days with my grandson are the best |

Summer days with my grandson are the best

Mike Bennett
Staff Photo |

School is about to begin and I remember that one of our first assignments in my day was to write a composition about my summer. I just completed my summer vacation with my 13-year-old grandson Caleb, and it was very special.

You see, for all of Caleb’s life he has lived in New Jersey, and I have lived many states away. If I was able to visit with him more than once a year I considered myself fortunate. My career choices and love of Colorado has come with sacrifices. Living far from family has been sacrifice number one.

Last week I was as excited as a kid knowing I was going to pick Caleb up at Denver International Airport. I drove through a major rainstorm with a sunny spirit. I got to the gate just in time to see the jet taxi up. Caleb must have grown 3 inches since I saw him last.

He was asleep by the time we hit Glenwood Canyon after a long day of travel. We got home and took a walk over to Slope & Hatch for one of Caleb’s favorites, a plain hot dog and french fries with ketchup.

Pop Pop (me) learned that his grandson’s culinary palate hadn’t changed much. While I love adventurous eating, Caleb is thrilled to eat hot dogs, olives, grapes, white or wheat bread, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, bacon, lettuce with specific but limited ingredients, chocolate ice cream and potato chips. I unsuccessfully tried to gently broaden his horizons.

The first day we hiked a bit of Boy Scout Trail, although Caleb informed me he wasn’t in the best of shape despite his thin figure. He did OK, though. The week included an ATV trip on the Bair Ranch via Glenwood Adventures. We had a blast, as we were able to see Mount Sopris from a different vantage point. And we saw volcanic rock from Colorado’s most recently active volcano near Dotsero. Who knew? Add this to a list of tourist’s activities that many locals miss. I can see a series here: “Experience your region like a tourist.”

The week was a blur as we traveled from DIA to Dinosaur National Monument and parts in between and back to the airport for a tearful goodbye.

For years I have identified first with my job as a publisher of a community newspaper — and next as husband, father and grandfather. My life to date has been fulfilling, although I will always second-guess whether I made the correct decisions.

Take it from me, if you have children or grandchildren who live with you or close by, appreciate and enjoy them as often as possible. While it’s been a great wet summer, the best of times have been having my daughter Sara and my grandson Caleb here to visit.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.

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