Publisher’s Corner

Fatherhood, the Best Job in the World…
(Except maybe for Grandfatherhood)

June is known for perhaps the best weather of the year in St. Louis, that first (or second or third) trip to Ted Drewes, and of course Father’s Day. I was thinking of writing a column about being a father, but instead have opted for a narrative on becoming a grandfather. That’s right. I am going to henceforth be known as Gramps or Grandpa, or Papa or whatever nickname my new grandson chooses. Jackson James Petty, my grandson to be (around August 1) will become my ally. In a family unbalanced with estrogen, It will be nice to have another man in the house once in while. I have already decided to call him JJ. Initial names are big in my tribe. Although I did not receive my initials until college when I penned my first collegiate newspaper article. I turned in my masterpiece and the editor told me, “Hey, there’s no name on this. Initial it.” So I put J.B. Lester and from there on I was known as J.B. So if anyone calls me Jim or Jimmy I know it’s from high school or my family. And if anyone calls me James, I know it’s a solicitation or something official like the DMV. My grandson Jackson will not have to wait until college to receive his “Letters”. In the tradition of his great, great, grandfather J.G. Lester, he will have it from birth. But my paternal grandfather J.G.’s first name was Jethro. That name demands going by J.G. No offense to the Bodine clan. And my maternal grandfather was J.C. Barnard. I always called him Papa and my grandmother called him Jim, but someone must have called him J.C. It would be only fitting considering our family of initialed names. My father Charles Norton Lester never became CN. The best he could do was Chuck. But like Shakespeare said, “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And my new grandson is a sweet treat for me and my wife. At nearly 62, it is time I donned the festive robes of grandfatherhood. And whatever name JJ picks for me, I will be happy. My parents never got to be grandparents for my daughters. They died way too soon. Chuck and Mary Ann would be thrilled to welcome JJ into the world and hold him in their arms and shower him with love. I will have to give JJ double love for them. And don’t think I am taking this new role of grandfather lightly. I know it is not just a title. I will have to remember how to change a diaper and sing a lullaby. It’s been a while but I still recall how to play airplane in the hanger at mealtime and “I got your nose.” I already am looking for a set of short golf clubs and a little baseball mitt. Oh, and some finger paints. Oh, and a little piano in case he is a musical prodigy. And if he loves to cook he can learn so much from his great uncle Bill and his cousin Chef Benjamin. And he will of course be a great singer like his grandmother Niki and his mom Natalie and his auntie Stephanie. Or maybe a man of the stage like his father. And it goes without saying that he will be a great writer like his grandfather. Maybe the next great American novelist or poet. And I know he will have a deep respect for the environment and will live a long, happy and healthy life and some day be a father and grandfather himself and can write his own Father’s Day column.

On this father’s day, I want to congratulate all the grandfathers and fathers out there. Especially my son-in-law Ben who is about to be JJ’s Dad. The best job in the world! (Except maybe for grandfatherhood.)

In Good Health, J.B. Lester; Publisher