by Miles Rost
“Happy Birthday, Grandpa!”
Gordon “Pete” Stack would normally have been happy to see his grandchildren on this birthday, but he just was not very happy. He had all that he would have needed: a wonderful wife who had been with him for nearly 45 years, three great children who were credits to his family, and now he had a few awesome grandchildren who were becoming grandteenagers.
This day, his 69th birthday, he was just not pleased with anything.
He sat on the porch of his nice estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and studied the world. He saw what he remembered and what the world had become, and he was quite displeased by all of it. And it seemed to all land in his mind on this very day.
Two of his grandchildren, 12-year old Sasha and 14-year old Mariska, came out to the porch and sat down on a swinging rocker next to him.
“Grandpa, you don’t seem like you’re very happy to see us today,” Mariska said, looking over at him with concern.
“Bah. It’s not you,” he grumbled, as he shifted his weight in his chair, “I was just thinking back on my life a bit, and seeing where I’ve been. There were many things I missed, but many things that I also took delight in. Those days are gone now.”
He looked over at them, and it was like someone clicked the detonator on a time-travel bomb.
“Well, let’s see. You have in today’s world some singer who sings like a boy, looks like a girl, and can’t spell beaver right…”
Sasha snorted at this, finding it a little funny.
“You have people who tell you lies and market it as the truth, while the truth from your ancestors becomes lies to be disbelieved…”
Mariska just sighed at this.
“…And you have a bunch of spoiled brats who aren’t willing to take care of their own families, expecting the world to give it all to them, all while they smoke weed. Do you know what I had when I was young?”
Sasha and Mariska looked at him, and leaned forward in anticipation.
“I had great singers like Buddy Holly, and great bands like the Rolling Stones.. The first time I heard “Peggy Sue” I was 12 years old. The Russians had their rocket ships and the war was cold. It was a different age at that time, kids.”
“Shoot, the first time I ever smoked. Guess what? Paranoid. The first time I heard “Satisfaction”, I was young and unemployed.”
The kids looked at him like he was from another world, but still fascinated.
“Let me tell you. Things were much different, and in my opinion, much better. We had a lot more of the desire to create and build things. Big things, great things. Now, it’s all small stuff like microchips, processors, and other such junk.”
They looked at him, still riveted to his words.
“Down the decades every year, summer leaves and my birthday’s here. Watch, all my friends’ll stand up, cheer, and say ‘Man, you’re old!‘”
Mariska smiled and patted his arm.
“But, Grandpa. You’re not old. You’re just an advanced teenager. You’re still young, you’re just still young with a different time period in your mind.”
Pete finally cracked a smile at this.
“Well, let’s just say that I have some things that your parents don’t know, and I’m willing to give you some of my wisdom. It’ll be my birthday gift to you.”
His smile became a wily grin, as Sasha and Mariska moved closer to hear what he had to say. Just as he was about to say something, one of his old friends started walking up the walkway. He turned his head towards the old friend, grabbed his shotgun, and walked up to the edge of the stairs.
His old friend started to say hello, when Pete yelled at him
“Get off my lawn!”