An evening to remember… how could we forget?

By | January 31, 2019 9:41 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

An evening to be remembered, yes, that’s what it was. An evening to remember!

For a Saturday, it was too early to climb out of bed, but we did. Then we hurriedly packed, dived in the car, stopped for a brief breakfast, and rolled down the entrance ramp to I-81 for a 275-mile drive to the Nashville suburb of Mt. Juliet.

A black-tie and evening-gown affair was brewing for downtown Nashville – Tennessee’s largest city / capitol / “Music City, USA” – and Stephen and Whitney were planning to attend. Sammie and I would be babysitting the Playl boys. The inaugural ball for Gov. Bill Lee was the formal event where Stephen and Whitney made their appearance. Special night, indeed!

… but Nahnee and Papa spending the night with Grayson and Anderson made it an even greater evening to remember!

We arrived in Mt. Juliet in time to see most of Grayson’s basketball game at Stoner Creek Elementary School. We were impressed with his talent on the court as he scored a couple of baskets, got a couple of rebounds, stole the ball a couple of times, and handled the ball quite well, especially for a second grader. We ate lunch at a fancy hamburger place – not fast food! – then drove to the house to say our goodbyes as Stephen and Whit loaded up and headed to a downtown hotel across the street from the venue for the ball.

Soon the entertainment began. Grayson wanted to know why children and grandparents were not invited to the ball, and Anderson asked, “Will Mom be Cinderella at the ball?”

Parents ate delicacies for dinner. Grandparents and children settled for breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks. While they did whatever folks do at such fancy events, we watched a movie about ninja kids, accompanied by the boys’ karate moves. Then, using clothes hampers for goals, they played basketball. Grayson promised, “Don’t worry, Anderson, I’ll go easy on you.”

Anderson took that to mean G-man would let him win…so we had to change the rules a couple of times to be sure little brother did, in fact, come out on top.

After prayer time, the boys drifted off to sleep, promising to let Nahnee and Papa sleep late. Next morning we met the parents for breakfast a few blocks from Stephen’s office at the Tennessee Department of Education. Then we drove past Ryman Auditorium and a few other places Sammie and I remembered, plus a bunch of big and tall buildings that weren’t there when we lived in Nashville – more than 30 years ago.

Before dropping the boys off and heading back to East Tennessee, we drove by the church where I had been pastor and the house we were living in when Stephen was born. Anderson was amazed. “You mean the house where Daddy lived as a baby is still standing?!?”

As we bade farewell, with exaggerated significance and in a stage-whisper, Grayson implored Sammie, “Don’t tell our parents that we’re really half kid and half ninja, Nahnee. That’s our little secret.”

The icing on the cake for our 24-hour adventure in Nashville was Anderson’s final proclamation: “We always have lots of fun when Nahnee and Papa are with us.”

Hearing those words made the hours in the car and miles on the interstate well worth the effort. Our relationship with friends and family is a blessing from God and offers us amazing opportunities.

The Psalmist wrote, “No doubt about it; Children are a gift from the Lord…” (127:3-5. CEB) I feel certain that includes grandchildren.

Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor,

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