( Intermediate Level )
Grandpa Joe married at the tender age of seventeen his childhood sweetheart. He never finished high school because his father’s cattle business needed extra hands.
This business was eventually passed down to him when his parents died. It wasn’t large by any means. It earned him enough to feed his family and pay the bills.
Joe and his wife had six children which are now grown and have their own families. All of them moved away once they married and started their own families.
Jacob, his eldest son, visited often. He loved getting away from the rat race of the city. Jacob knew the ropes of the cattle business and the hours of dedication it took to be successful.
He admired his dad for this but knew his dad could be much more successful if he had the proper education. He mentioned this to him several times but his father always responded with, “I have no time for this now. The business will not run itself.”
Whenever Jacob visited his parents, he brought his entire family. Especially his eldest son, Johnny. He was getting into quite a bit of trouble including not attending school. He felt getting him away from that environment might do him some good.
He planned on sending him to his father’s ranch during the summer months hoping to redirect him. Grandpa would make him work.
“Hard work makes a man out of you,” he remembers his dad telling him and his three brothers. He hated this saying when he was younger but now as a father, he understands how important these words are.
Jacob and his father sat in the barn drinking lemonade when he told his father of his oldest son. “Dad, I really do not know what to do with him. I don’t want to give up on him. He is heading down the wrong path. I don’t think he is into drugs yet and I don’t want this to get to that point.”
“Things are so different these days. We never gave you this much trouble and quite honestly never dared to either,” he said with a smile as he looked at his father.
Joe sat there listening to his son’s concerns and shook his head in affirmation, “Send him here the day school gets out. I will keep him so busy he won’t have time to get into any trouble.“
The duration of Jacob’s visit went uneventful. They reminisce about life growing up there. Johnny seemed very disinterested in their stories. He was seen more than once trying to get a signal on his cell phone.
“It’s as if we are in a different country. No cell phone signal. No internet. Who lives like this?, he was heard saying. “We do,” his grandfather would say. “All those things we don’t need way out here.”
Johnny’s eyes rolled and you could hear a heavy sigh escape from him. as he walked away. “Better get used to it. You’ll be spending the summer in this foreign country,” Joe said as he laughed and put his hand on his son’s shoulder.
Jacob and his family left that afternoon for home. The school was the next day and both Jacob and his wife had a meeting with the principal before Johnny could attend school again.
Johnny got himself into trouble just before the weekend and he was facing suspension from school. The meeting was to see if there could be a solution before it came to suspension.
After an hour or so of talking with the principal, Johnny was able to stay in school with the provision he did not get into trouble again. If he was suspended he would have to repeat the whole entire year again. This is something Johnny did not want to do.
There were only four weeks left of school. His parents surely felt he would not get into trouble again in such a short time.
Finally, the school year ended. Lo and behold, Johnny didn’t make a mistake. In his mind, if he lived up to his end of the deal then maybe he wouldn’t have to spend the summer with his grandparents.
It didn’t matter to his parents. The same afternoon school ended, Johnny’s father was driving him to the countryside. Much to his surprise, his suitcases were already packed by his mother.
“Oh my God, It is as if you two are happy I am being shipped off to Neverland,” he said to his dad. “Couldn’t wait to get rid of me, could you?”
“Grandpa Joe can use the extra hands now. Many of the cows are giving birth this time of the year. It is a busy time for him.”
The duration of the ride was in complete silence. Johnny is in his own world and Jacob is in deep thoughts about his son. Hoping his father could change his self-destructive path.
Jacob’s mission was accomplished. Johnny was delivered to his grandparent’s home just about dinnertime. Jacob had to head back home almost immediately since he had to work the next day.
Of course, Johnny was less than thrilled to be there. He could think of better places to be for the summer.
“Alright, we have to be up and ready to go by five in the morning,” his grandfather said after dinner. “Make sure you set your alarm. Breakfast will be waiting.”
Johnny couldn’t believe what he just heard. He never had to get up this early when he was in school. “Was his grandfather insane,” he thought to himself.
Five in the morning came way too soon. Johnny drug himself downstairs to see both his grandparents wide awake and fully dressed. “Good morning, sunshine,” his grandfather said with a huge grin on his face. “Grab a bite to eat and we will be leaving in thirty minutes.”
“Sigh, the cows are not going anywhere. Why do we have to be up this early?” You could see the dissatisfied look on Johnny’s face.
“We need to be there when the calves are born. There could be complications and we need to be there. Those calves won’t wait until Johnny is ready.” He said followed by a deep belly laugh.
The first day turned out to be the toughest. Johnny worked until he dropped. Although his grandfather’s spread wasn’t large there were many things to do. Moving the cows from one pasture to the next. Feeding not to mention watering.
Six calves were born and their births went well. Grandpa Joe tagged each of their ears and they were logged into a manifest to show those calves belonged to him.
That night Johnny lies in bed, too exhausted to shower or eat. He couldn’t imagine doing this type of work all his life as his grandfather has done.
As the summer trudged on, Johnny accepted the fact he wasn’t going to have fun. He did find himself admiring his grandfather. At his age doing what he did was amazing. He knew this was not what he considered a lifelong job. Not for him at least.
One afternoon, shortly after the last calf of the season was born, tagged and logged into the book, the two sat down under a shade tree. It was the dog days of summer and showed no forgiveness with the high temperatures.
“Grandpa, why didn’t you finish school? Pops told me you quit and helped your dad here. Doing what you are doing now.”
“In those days we really didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t quit then maybe we would have starved. You’ve experienced this work first hand. It isn’t easy.”
“And while we are on the subject of school, what is your issue with school? Ditching school or when you actually go causing so much trouble you are sent home. What gives?”
Johnny looked at his grandpa who sat across from him with a smirk on his face, “It is boring. I would rather do something else.”
“Like what? Like me? Work from sunrise to sunset to barely make ends meet? To wonder if some disease will take out my herd? You better get it together or you will end up old before your time. Your body will hurt constantly. You have an opportunity more than I did at your age. Smarten up!”
This was the first time he heard his grandfather use such a stern voice. He sat there for a moment and responded.
“Ok, I will make a grandfather to grandson deal with you. If I attend school without any more incidents, pass all my classes with good grades, and actually graduate with my class, will you go back to school and get your GED? Then you can finally tell people you have graduated “
Joe knew his grandson was trying to outsmart him but it backfired. “I certainly will. This was our busiest time here with all the calves coming in, now that it is over, I will have plenty of time in the evenings to attend classes.”
Johnny’s look on his face was priceless. Grandpa Joe laughed, “ What, you didn’t expect that answer? Your parents care about you just as much as I and grandma do so if this is what it takes to straighten you out then I will live up to my end of this bargain. Deal?”
They shook on this, as men do, and the deal was set. Once Johnny returned to school’ his grandfather would be going back to school also.
That night Johnny couldn’t wait to call his parents as he usually did every Friday. He told his dad of the deal he made with Grandpa. Jacob was smiling, on the other end of the phone. “He did it.” he thought to himself. “Dad did it.”
“Grandpa says that you are never too old to learn something new,” he laughed. “He promised grandma he would stay away from the ladies. Just think, next year this time you will be attending two graduations!”
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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen
Thoughts From Angel:
Your educational career is but just a brief moment in your life. Enjoy it!
If You Appreciate What I do and Would Like to Support Me:
by no means – phrase: not at all
rat race – idiom: a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power
dedication – noun: committed to a task or purpose
admired – verb: with respect or warm approval
entire – adjective: no part left out; whole
environment – noun: the surroundings or conditions
affirmation – noun: yes, agreeing
reminisced – verb: enjoyable recollection of past events
disinterested – adjective: no interest in something
principal – noun: he person with the highest authority at a school
suspension – noun: the temporary prevention of something from continuing
provision – noun: the action of providing something
lo and behold – phrase: used to present a new scene, situation, or turn of events
much to his surprise – phrase: very surprised
duration – noun: the time during which something continues
self-destructive – adjective: destroying or causing serious harm to oneself
accomplished – transitive verb: : to bring about (a result) by effort
less than thrilled – idiom: not happy
pasture – noun: and covered with grass
manifest – noun: book or log to list items
exhausted – adjective: physically tired
trudged – verb: move slowly
dog days of summer– idiom: the period between early July and early September when the hot weather of summer is at it’s highest
what gives -idiom: something you ask when you aren’t sure why someone is doing something or acting a certain way
smirk – noun: silly smile, smug
barely – adverb: in a simple way
smarten up – phrasal verb: to become more intelligent or aware
incidents – noun: an event or occurrence
GED -acronym : Tests of General Educational Development The GED is a high school equivalency diploma, so you can use it to apply to college or for a job resume, just like you would with a high school diploma
backfired – verb: have the opposite effect to what was intended
bargain – noun: an agreement between two or more parties
Question ( s ):
What are your thoughts on Grandpa Joe deciding to go back and getting his GED diploma?
Do you feel it is important to keep your mind and body active especially when you get older?