Jerry Nelson: A little bandit has stolen something important from us

Jerry Nelson
Special to the Farm Forum
Jerry Nelson

My wife and I have become the victims of some thievery.

Thanks to modern cellphone technology, we have a pretty accurate description of the suspect. He’s on the short side with brownish-blondish hair and blue eyes. He tends to totter when he walks and has what appears to be a perpetual drool stain running down his chest.

All of the evidence points to an indisputable fact: our toddler grandson has stolen our hearts.

The little guy lives several hours away with his mom and his dad, so we don’t get to spend much in-person time with him. Snapchat and Facetime are OK, but they can’t replace being in the room with someone and actually touching them, holding them and smelling them. And if their smell becomes a bit suspicious, you can quickly hand them off to the proper diaper-changing authorities.

We recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the little dude at a family gathering that was hosted by his other set of grandparents. It was the type of affair that features so much scrumptiousness that you overeat to the point where you begin to wish that you had worn your expandable pants. Your belt hugs your belly like an overtightened saddle cinch.

Thank goodness there was an exercise program to help burn off some of those excess calories! A program that consisted mainly of such things as getting down on the floor with our grandson and playing trucks with him. We quickly relearned that all boys are born with the ability to make truck motor sounds with their mouths.

The exercise program also included music and dance elements. If I hear the “The Wheels on the Bus” song just one more time, it will sear itself into my brain and cause me to end all of my sentences with verbs that have to be repeated three times.

The little guy is already an avid golf fan. If the Golf Channel is on TV, he will stop in his tracks and stare at the screen. He is constantly practicing his golf swing, even though his balance is often somewhat iffy. He is at the stage of life where falls are still frequent, but also generally not a big deal since it isn’t very far to the ground.

He will use anything – a spatula, a stick, a stuffed toy giraffe – as a golf club. In an effort to reduce wear and tear on and loss of kitchen utensils, his parents purchased a proper toy golf club for him. He uses the driver to smack his toy golf ball hither and yon. As such, we spent a lot of time on the floor searching beneath various items of furniture for the errant golf ball.

After each successful shot, the pint-sized duffer will hold his driver aloft as he waits for the gallery to cheer. He has already mastered the golf pro pose.

During a day that pleasantly passed with yakking and eating, we would randomly mess around with the large jigsaw puzzle that our hosts had been working on for several months. I’m not sure how many pieces the puzzle contained, but would guess that it was upwards of a million.

Many hands make light work. As different people drifted in and out of the game room, more and more pieces of the puzzle found their proper places. Our hosts became hopeful that piecing the puzzle together might actually happen before the end of the decade.

But the closer the puzzle came to completion, the more apparent it became that several of its pieces were missing. Purely by happenstance, my wife saw the little sneakthief casually stroll up to the kitchen cupboard, open a drawer, drop something into the drawer, then silently shut it.

Yep! It was a puzzle piece.

A subsequent search of the house revealed that several puzzle pieces had mysteriously found their way into a potted plant. Once the pieces were installed, it was discovered that one final piece remained annoyingly AWOL.

The entire premises were searched anew. Couches and recliners were lifted, cellphone flashlights were shone into various nooks and crannies. Nothing!

Someone came up with the idea of giving little sticky fingers a piece of the puzzle then surreptitiously following him to see where he put it. He wandered aimlessly about, never giving the slightest clue as to where the missing puzzle piece might have ended up. It may forever remain a mystery.

For many years I have heard that having grandchildren is the best thing ever. I completely agree, even though the little bandit will probably steal your heart.

Jerry’s book, Dear County Agent Guy, is available at and in bookstores nationwide.