It’s been quite a weekend for an old man with white hair, sore knees and various other aches and pains that go with not being as young as you once were.
I watched in amazement Saturday as the A-Day crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium grew and grew until it had reached 83,401. I watched an A-Day game played with more energy and more purpose than most and wrote several stories.
Then the real fun began.
Even as I was writing those stories, Bennett Davis Marshall III joined us all in this world. My fifth grandchild and the first child of my oldest son Ben and his wife Karen was born Saturday afternoon in Houston. And Granddad and Nanny knew what they had to do.
When I was finished writing Saturday night, Teresa and Jonathan, our youngest, climbed into the car with me and we headed west. We got as far as Gonzalez, La., before stopping for the night, got up and drove the remaining five hours or so to Houston.
Sunday afternoon, we arrived and met our new grandson, the first of our five awesome grandchildren with Marshall for a last name. He was pretty much uninterested in what was going on around him, but Ben and Karen were all aflutter.
Ben, who has two Auburn degrees and is closing in on earning doctorate in chemical engineering at Rice University, had the experience of a lifetime as he watched his first-born arrive. “That’s the first time I’ve ever cried out of happiness,” said Ben, who is about as tough as they come.
The newest Marshall is named after his father and his great grandfather and will be called Benny, like his great grandfather. Many, many years ago, I promised my father if I ever had a son, I would name him after him. And I did. I’m proud my son decided to pass that name on, because my father was the best man I ever knew.
That’s why I wanted my son to have his name and why I’m proud my grandson now has it, too.
As I held Benny in my arms Sunday afternoon, marveling at the miracle of life and thinking how proud my father would be, I thought of the experiences that await him and prayed he will be spared being hurt by the evil that still lurks in our country and our world.
But mostly, as his mother and father beamed in the way only first-time parents can, I thought about just how wonderful life really is. I looked into his eyes, held him close and knew again that there really is hope for us all.
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