By Joe Klock, Sr.
The scion of a wealthy family dynasty is among the many things I am not. My Dad, otherwise a paragon of paternal virtue until his untimely death at age 49, was able to leave to his family little of monetary value, although we lived comfortably and wanted for nothing except unnecessary luxuries.
Among his intangible legacies, though, was one that continues, more than a half-century after his passing, to be a source of immeasurable pleasure for me...his (and now my) instant delight at the mere sight of baby girls.
He had only one daughter; whom he idolized, but so great was their attraction that he fell in love with every little girl he ever encountered, and seldom failed to make a spectacle of himself in expressing his innocent adoration.
Those were the now-bygone days when children didn't have to be taught to fear friendly adults whom they didn't know because of a few lowlife creeps in the social scumbag ranks.
Along with a few personal effects and a tendency toward overweight, he bequeathed to me those same soft spots in the eye and heart for girl babies. (It's a crying shame that he didn't live to see my seven daughters, seven granddaughters and (so far) three female "great grands.")
All of them were, and the youngest ones still are (in my totally objective judgment, of course) candidates for label space on Gerber food jars and/or the blue ribbon in any baby beauty contest they entered.
Please don't misunderstand me - our only-begotten son and all the male members of our extended clan are no less precious to Firstwife and me, but - how can I put it - there's just something about a baby girl that turns me into warm applesauce, makes me grin like a tickled Elmo and blows away all feelings that life is anything less than pure delight.
This is not to say that children of both genders lose their lovability with age, but there's that indescribable "something," cited above, with which only the real live baby dolls are endowed at birth.
Aside: Neither is this to deny that the price of their early enchantment and their eventual maturity includes the horror of transition - those intervening teen years of acne, rebellion, discovery and hormonal jailbreak.
Yet, even that purgatorial period has its mitigating aspect, perhaps best expressed by the message imprinted on a hand towel which hangs in the bathroom adjacent to my home office. It reads: "Few things are more satisfying than seeing your children with teenagers of their own." (God IS good!)
Back, though, to those little angels. I truly believe that somewhere in their DNA there is a genetic component which enables them to wrap fathers, grandfathers and even total strangers around their dainty fingers and teaches them to use their little eyes like weapons of mass disarmament.
Feminine wiles are early implanted in them, as any old guy this side of the tombstone will confirm, and said wiles are available to them during their entire lifetimes, even when (albeit rarely) they become too feeble to attack a mall or leaf through a fashion magazine.
WARNING: Readers who don't know what the hell I'm talking about had best split the scene right now...it gets even mushier from here on.
A frightening number of years ago, one of the more pleasant assignments given me by a Jesuit mentor in English Lit was studying and reciting "The Bells," by Edgar Allen Poe. (Even if you don't like poetry, it's worth a trip to http://quotations.about.com/cs/poemlyrics/a/The_Bells.htm
, where the melodic lyrics can be savored.)
With apologies to the late Mr. Poe and the aforementioned Jesuit mentor, I offer the following spasm of homespun doggerel as a heartfelt tribute to the mini-mademoiselles who continue to bless and delight what is euphemistically characterized as my 'golden years.'
"Hear the music of the girls - baby girls.
Hear the tinkle of their laughter, see the flutter of their curls,
As they giggle, giggle, giggle from behind those chubby hands.
While they bat their eyes and wriggle, in a way that's barely legal.
It's a shame, shame, shame how they play their vicious game,
How the deadly air of witchery so innocently swirls
'Round the girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls, girls -
'Round the spell-inducing charm of baby girls."
Sorry about that, folks, but try to be tolerant of a soft-hearted old fool in love, who is simply, harmlessly and happily following in his equally foolish father's footsteps.