JD and me.
JD and me.
More than one of our always appreciated Alert Readers brought it to my attention that last week's HCP print edition failed to include my usual column on Page 4. You'll have that.

After publishing roughly 2,000 newspaper, magazine and online columns in the past three-plus decades, I am neither fatigued nor void of material. Frankly, I've just been busy.

In August, my grandson, JD (Julian Dell Ryan DiMario, if you please) turned 1. At almost 14 months, he's just a bit of a handful – at least on my days. But it's always enjoyable.

Today, we walked the dogs around the east hayfield and back to the front-yard swing. I carried JD for the first part of the walk. In the middle of our field – which was just mowed over the weekend – I let JD walk for a little while. Naturally, he was barefoot. At first, he just stood there on his tiptoes. Slowly, but surely, he gained enough confidence to walk through the field. The look on his face was priceless.

We headed for the front-yard swing as is our routine on nice summer days. Sometimes on sunny days, JD wears one of my (numerous) ball caps. Sometimes, he wears one of Uncle Colin's.

On occasion, JD makes himself known around the HCP office – and to passersby in the 100 block of South High Street. He likes to stand on the orange couch near HCP Sasquatch and watch cars and trucks go by. He especially likes the trucks. The bigger and more colorful, the better.

On other occasions, we play baseball indoors. He throws the ball, and I try to catch it. Already, he is better than former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, but he still encounters a few control problems. Thus far, no broken windows, lamps or picture frames. But it's still early.

Kitchen cabinets are an altogether different matter. If they are not guarded by our chairs, they are sure to be invaded by Mr. Jules or Mr. Handsome Man, as he is apt to happily respond.

And then there's the game of backyard ball with our younger dog, Luna. Luna is quite the catcher of tossed soft spheres. JD cracks up with each canine catch. This afternoon, he grabbed my hands and clapped them together in approval. I'm guessing it's easier for him to clap my hands than his own. (I won't make any ice cream cone jokes, either.)

For the past 14 months, when together, JD and I have either watched "The Andy Griffith Show," or I have whistled the introduction for him. I did that today while we were sitting together on the deck. His grin was wider than Otis Campbell's when Andy released him a day early from the Mayberry jail.

We've got a long way to further JD's education, but you get the general idea. He will learn to say "yes, sir," and "yes, ma'am." He will learn to say "please" and "thank you." He will learn to look another man in the eye and give him a solid handshake. He will grow not only in stature and wisdom, but also in faith. That's important. His parents and his extended family will see to it.

But for the time being, he will empty the kitchen cabinets and look over his shoulder with a grin that begs the question: "What are you going to do about it?"

It's all part of life.

The other day, I saw a friend at Great Scot (Community Market) in Hillsboro. We talked about grandchildren. He told me grandchildren were the Lord's blessing to us for not giving up on our own children. He was joking, of course.

JD and me are good. Today was a good day. I hope there are many more.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.