The Nana Factor

I started writing this on Mother's Day, a holiday dedicated to all the moms in the world. The way it works is that our moms give birth to us, then they do a twenty-year stretch of washing our laundry, saving us from malnutrition, and keeping us from killing or being killed by our siblings. 


In return for all that, we set aside one day a year to give them a pancake breakfast, a basket of flowers, and a cheesy card. The amazing thing is, they seem to like it.


So when my son gave us a Mother's Day FaceTime call, the apparent purpose of which was to let our granddaughter, fresh from her bath, flash Nana and Papa a full holiday moon, it was all a normal part of the plan. Then I got to thinking about how all the grandmothers of the the world fit into the lives of kids. 

My Latest Girl Car

In this column I have talked from time to time about "guy cars" and "girl cars." I have pointed out that there are a few fundamental differences in how most men and women view their automobiles. 

The typical guy wants a car that is an expression of dominance over his personal universe. He wants it to project an image of his status and virility to the world. He wants it to be a four-wheeled extension of his ideal self, looking and sounding as powerful and in-charge as he (comically) imagines himself to be.

Most women are happy with a car if the engine starts when you turn the key.


I consider myself a really lucky guy. In my career I've had the opportunity to write all kinds of things, most of them silly, and writing them has usually been fun. But every now and then I have had to put the silliness aside and say goodbye to a friend.

Just a little over seventeen years ago our family threw all our stuff in boxes, threw the boxes in a truck, and headed up the road from Ann Arbor to move into a house on the shores of Whitmore Lake. The house came with nice carpeting, a great view of the water, and a neighbor named Harold Lemon.

Harold was about 75 years old when I first met him. He was hobbling around his back yard with a cane, and in our first conversation he told me that he was just about to go in to have a hip replaced. My impression was, "Wow, what a nice old guy. He's just a little bit older than my dad would be if he was alive. I guess it's gonna be pretty quiet next door."



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