The late, great Art Linkletter was so right: Kids do say the darnedest things. My grandchildren are no exception.

Thomas, the 4-year-old, recently told his mother, “Mommy, I just hurt my foot wrist.” Henceforth, the word “ankle” will always be known as a “foot wrist,” as in, “Dang it, my foot wrists are swollen. Guess I’d better get back on my diet.”

Seth, the 8-year-old, is a lot like his Mamaw Albert. Awhile back, his mother posted on Facebook a photo of a flip-flop he had repaired with the note, “You know your boy might be a redneck when you find that he’s repaired his blown out $1 Walmart camo flip-flop with a combination of duct tape and electrical tape. Again I see Linda Albert’s genes making an appearance.”

True, and those are the genes handed down from Seth’s great-grandfather, Doc Braden. I am pleased to say that all three grandchildren also have inherited the gene for saving what others could consider garbage to use for alternative purposes (olive jars make delightful vases, for example) or in some kind of craft. When I croak, they will inherit lots of those wonderful things to indulge their creativity — if their mom and uncle don’t throw them in the garbage first.

Ellie, almost 11 and going on 18, went on a girls’ day out with her mother, who told her, “The thing kids don’t understand is that adults are just kids, too, only we got bigger. It’s really kind of strange, because I am still the 10-year-old girl I used to be, but now I’m doing grownup stuff. I’m the age now that I remember my parents being, and I have a hard time remembering that they’re in their 60s now, because that’s so odd to me.” Ellie answered, “Yeah, and they’re so good-looking! I would have thought they were just in their 40s or 50s!” Yep. She’s back in the will. I think I will give her first choice of the craft stash.

As much as I enjoy sharing tales of the grandchildren, I’ve made some observations this week, too, that reflect life in general:

Valet service at hospitals is such a great idea! For those who have difficulty walking a mile or more (it seems) from the parking lot to the entrance, valet service makes a huge difference in whether or not you can be with loved ones who are having procedures done or are admitted.

While you’re waiting for a loved one to have surgery, it’s amusing to check out fellow sojourners in the lounge. One gentleman stood out last week. He was on his phone constantly and quite loudly. When his buzzer went off that he should come to the nurse’s station to check on his wife, he ignored it and kept talking! It kept on buzzing and buzzing, and finally one of the other people in the waiting room walked over and said, “Sir! They are trying to tell you about your wife!” He got up then, still talking on the phone, went to the nurse’s station, and from what I could tell would not let them give him the information until he finished his call. Bless his heart.

I voted Thursday. As I drove on narrow, two-lane roads across the way to my voting precinct, I was struck by how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I confess, with the rain and my looming deadlines for both the newsroom and Blount County Horizon, I almost didn’t go. I’m so glad I did. In that rural community center, surrounded by cornfields and pastures and hand-lettered signs offering sweet corn and tomatoes, I made my voice heard just as each of you who also voted made your voice heard. Is it any less heard if your candidate didn’t win? Nope. The only way it won’t be heard is if you don’t use it at all. Remember that in November.

One last observation: Kindness is free. Be generous in spreading it everywhere you go.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at Lindas Inkyfingers@com cast.net.

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