Father's Daze

This job was something Ty flipped for

There are many steps on the road from boyhood to manhood, some of them large, some of them small.
We've watched that unfold with our two sons, and now we get to watch it all over again with our three grandsons.
This past weekend it was our oldest grandson, Ty, taking another step forward on that path.
The occasion was a fry out put on by his other grandfather's service organization.
Ty's father, Ethan, had told me about it beforehand, but I got the dates mixed up and thought it was the following Sunday.
I think I've lived long enough to have earned the right to forget a date or two, once in a while, or at least to get them mixed up.
I think that's actually one of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, but I don't remember which one right now. Or maybe I'm getting it mixed up with something else in the Constitution.
At any rate, it came as a surprise when Ethan showed up at our door Sunday morning to sell us tickets for the raffle that was part of the fry out, on his way there with Ty and Nolan.
He came in by himself, not wanting to drag the boys out of the car and then have to get them back in the car.
Having wrestled more times than I care to remember getting Ethan and his brother Alex in or out of the car at that age, I could almost understand his feelings.
But since we're no longer the ones doing the wrestling – as either wrestler or wrestlee – Terry and I were a bit disappointed not to see the boys.
But since they were on their way to the fry out, we decided to follow them up there and enjoy a little family lunch time.
It took us a little while to get ready to go – a lot of things these days seem to take longer than they used to, unfortunately – so by the time we got there Ethan was just starting to pull out of the parking lot with the boys.
He was delivering a to-go meal for Sharon, who had to work that afternoon, so we convinced Ethan to leave the boys with us at the fry out while he delivered his wife's lunch.
Nolan's crying and screaming in the back seat when he saw his grandparents might have had something to do with that decision.
And no, he wasn't screaming in terror or fright at seeing me. That usually takes a little longer to develop than 3-plus years.
Nolan went inside with his grandmother, who was getting our lunches, while Ty and I stayed outside to watch his other grandfather help with the grilling.
Ty soon decided that grilling should be a participator, not a spectator sport, and was asking if he could help flip the burgers.
I'm not sure if this is how Ray Kroc got his start, but look how far it took him.
Ty was soon flipping away like a professional. In fact, he was flipping burgers so fast and so often that they were barely spending enough time actually on the grill to get cooked – which sort of defeats the whole purpose of frying out.
His grandfather quickly assigned him the job of running grilled burgers, brats, steaks and chicken patties into the kitchen, to be put in the warmers for serving.
That kept him away from the grills long enough that the next batch of meat could get a good start on getting grilled before the flipper apprentice returned.
Nolan, meanwhile, was keeping Terry and I company while we ate our lunch.
It's hard to say, though, whether it was actually our company that he was interested in or some other things.
There were balloons on the table for decoration that he soon became interested in.
So interested, in fact, that we were soon sitting at the only table in the room without balloons, since we had to move all of them to other tables to keep Nolan from grabbing them.
Terry then managed to divert him with her computer pad, which she had brought along with her.
Nolan was soon trying out all the games he could find.
He didn't bother with little niceties like the rules, no matter how much Terry tried to explain them to him.
Despite that, Nolan still managed to shoot enough zombies, pop enough bubbles and slingshot enough pigs with Angry Birds to keep him entertained until his father returned.
At that point, it was Ty who began to scream in protest, since there were still plenty more burgers to be flipped.

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