A Final Thought: A Conversation With My Grandson


By Mitch Allen

“Poppy, when are my mommy and daddy coming home?”

“Next Wednesday. They went to Montana to spread your Grandpa John’s ashes in Glacier National Park.”

“I know. He passed away when I was a baby. Poppy, do you miss your father?”

“Yes, I do. Every day.”

“When did he die?”

“Back in 2012.”

“Before I was born?”


“How did he die?”

“He had kidney cancer.”

“What’s kidney?”

“It’s an organ inside our bodies that helps take toxins out of our blood and sends them away in our pee.”

“How did your mother die?”

“She had lung cancer.”

“What about your grandparents? How did they die?”

“My grandmother died of cancer and my grandfather died of heart disease.”

Tell him about the other grandmother who lived for years with dementia curled up in the fetal position, and the grandfather struck by a car when he walked to visit her. No, don’t.

“Poppy, is cancer contagious?”

“No, thank goodness.”

“Is heart disease contagious?”


“But the coronavirus is contagious, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Poppy, do you wear a shirt to bed.”


“What about pants?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“What about underwear?”

“That’s none of your business either.”

“You sleep naked?!”

“I didn’t say that. I said it’s none of your business.”

“Mimi! Poppy sleeps naked!”

“I did not say that.”

“Poppy, can I sleep without a shirt tonight?”

“Sure, but you have to wear pants, okay?”


“Poppy, can we swim in the lake?”

“Yes, but don’t put your head underwater.”

“Why not?”

“Because we don’t want single-celled organisms getting in our ears.”

“What’s a single-celled organism?”

“It’s a teeny tiny organism with just one cell, like a paramecium or an amoeba or yeast.”

“Yeast? Like the yeast my daddy uses to brew beer?”


“Yeast is an animal?! But my daddy is a vegan!”

“Well, vegans don’t consider a single-celled organism to be an animal. They’re too small to have a central nervous system.”

“McDonald’s French fries aren’t vegan.”

“I know. They have beef flavoring.”

“And some candy has gelatin. That’s not vegan either. I’m not vegan because I eat cheese. I’m just a vegetarian.”

“That’s right.”

“Do you eat meat, Poppy?”

“I do, buddy.”

“Do you miss your father?”

“I do. Every day. Do you want to get some ice cream?”

“Yes, please.”

“How about gelato?”

“What’s gelato?”

“It’s a special Italian ice cream.”

“I want gelato. What’s your favorite ice cream?”

“There is only one ice cream, sport. And that’s chocolate.”

“I like strawberry with sprinkles.”

“Well, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”

“Poppy, what was your greatest day ever?”

“It was my first date with Mimi.”

“Did you kiss her?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“You did kiss her!”

“Okay, yes.”

“Poppy, did you know Saturn has wings?”

“You mean wings so it can fly?”

“No, wings!

“Oh, you mean rings.”

“Right. I’m working on my Rs. I’m working on my Ls, too. I wuv you, Poppy.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”


Categories: Smart Living