Carolyn’s Online Magazine
GRANDDAUGHTER JORDAN TURNS 18 TODAY
SHE’S LIVED 6,573 days—157,752 hours
My neighbor Pet loved my first granddaughter, as did all my neighbors on Washington Avenue in Connellsville. They joined me in calling her “Little Turkey,” for which strangers glared at us. However, there was good reason why Jordan Taylor Smith received this nickname. After all, she entered the world at 5:05 p. m. on Thanksgiving Day: November 27, 1997.
Although we called her Little Turkey, her parents—my daughter Sandra and her then husband, Greg Smith—called her “Sweet Pea.” While they taught her how to say “mama” and “dada,” the rest of us were teaching her to say “gobble, gobble.”
Today is Jordan’s 18th birthday.
In the hospital waiting room, anticipating her birth, I worked on a quilt—which she received just last Christmas. I’m not the speediest person in our family. And I never let her forget her birth made us forego our Thanksgiving turkey.
Shortly after Jordan’s birth Sandy gave me a great birthday gift. She and Greg left Jordan with me while they went out. I had a great couple of hours with her, playing and coddling her. I dressed her in outfits Sandy wore and took photographs. We had a sweet time.
We saw Sandy in Jordan—a good-natured child forever running headlong into life, loving it, cherishing it, and always pushing for more.
Through Jordan I experienced what it was like to be a “working mom.” Having a story to turn in to the newspaper I’d pack the necessary items in a brief-bag. Then I’d pack the prerequisite baby items in the baby bag. We’d drive to the office, where I’d lay a blanket on the floor and give Jordan a bottle and her toys while I sat at a desk with an editor to review my article. Sometimes Jordan would sleep through the process. Other times I had to interrupt the editing process to refill a bottle, or calm her fussiness.
We offered something special to Jordan when she visited us in Connellsville, an hour’s drive from where our daughter lived. The Connellsville trains were a block away from our home. Whenever she heard the train whistle we had to high-tail it to a home where we could see the train pass up close and personal. The homeowner recognized Jordan’s need to see the train and granted us permission to trespass as needed.
We developed another tradition that included train-watching: breakfast picnics. I’d rise early in the morning, on the days she stayed overnight, and pack a picnic basket with a variety of cereal, juice, and special treats of raisins and bananas, and the pre-requisite bibs, napkins, plastic spoons, and a sippie cup. I’d barely have this task done when I heard sounds indicating Jordan was up. In the foyer I saw blond curls and bright eye s peeking through the banister railing.
“Train Water? Kayla?” she’d question.
“No Kayla. She went to school.”
Kayla was Jordan’s best Connellsville friend.
“Gamaw’s car, train, water,” she queried next.
“After you’re dressed.”
Then I grabbed my car keys, the picnic basket, and a very anxious child.
As we park the car in a spot behind the police station Jordan is rewarded. A silver and blue CSX train sits on the tracks, and it doesn’t hide the water—the Youghiogheny River—on the far side of the tracks. Jordan pronounces “Youghiogheny River” with perfection.
We walk along the sidewalks to some steps, which we climb to arrive at our destination, a lovely swing on the police station property. Here the closeness of the trains sometimes intimidates Jordan—a fear that keeps her glued to the swing seat.
We open the picnic basket to enjoy its goodies, which, for all Jordan cares, could be dog bones.
While keeping a eye on the CSX train, to which a second engine will be attached, the Amtrak train arrives.
This is her second birthday, and she’s experiences some fear when she hears the train whistle.
“Jordan scared of train,” she shares as she shrinks back into the swing seat.
Shortly the CSX train engine is hooked up, and it moves away. Meanwhile a huge train filled with coal cars arrives. Its whistle goes off as it passes in front of us. And the two of us jump in response. The conductor, noticing us observing, rewards us with a greeting not normally given at this particular point.
Time to leave. We stop at the Carnegie Library, which has a bunch of train books. Jordan knows just where they are, and she will have the librarian pull every book down.
When Jordan moved to Laurel Mountain Borough and we were part-timers there I would travel from Connellsville to watch her while her parents worked. We would take walks over the gravel roads, enjoying all the seasons had to offer in this small community. We spend enjoyable summer hours on Washington Furnace Run, playing in the flowing stream.
I had an assignment to write an article on the Borough’s history, so I always carried a pen, paper, and my camera. One icy day Jordan stopped on our walk to examine something on the ground. It was a small brown spider crossing the ice. Barely visible. Too small for me to catch with my camera. But she saw it, and declared it worthy of our interest.
Another time Jordan was acting up when we were out.
“Don’t ruffle up your turkey feathers,” I admonished her.
A woman walking by glared at me. I knew what she was thinking: How can you call that child a turkey? Perhaps I need to call Children’s Services.
I looked her straight in the eyes and said “She comes by the name turkey righteously. She was born on Thanksgiving day.”
The woman continued on her way without responding.
Today Jordan is 18. She’s lived 6,573 days—157,752 hours. Where has all that time gone? Have I done enough for her? Have I nurtured her the way I should have? Could I have done more for her, with her? Probably.
So today I wish Jordan a happy birthday. And, in the time you have if you live the projected years of your life to age 80—22,595 days, 542,280 hours—may they all be fruitful and beneficial.