A blog of general comment by one of L.A.'s best known commentator/essayists. Humor, drama, pathos, satire and, well, everything else.
This is the year of GracieAnn and I am her grandpa Apple.
Although slightly rounded I do not otherwise resemble an apple. I am neither red nor green with a bright luminous skin and I am in no way delicious.
The closest I would come to the shape of a fruit would be a pear, with the large part at the bottom and the little head-like stem at the top.
But Apple is what GracieAnn called me on the evening before the last night of the year, and there was no hesitancy in her assertion. She pointed with the certainty of new discovery and very clearly pronounced my identification.
“Apple,” she said.
Some might say that at age one it was as close as she could come to the word grandpa and perhaps that is so. But I prefer to see it larger perspective, a glimpse into the inner-me as it were, wherein dwells the solid core from whose goodness springs the American pie.
Well, maybe not.
The point is that this is the year of discovery for our beautiful granddaughter, as it is for all of the little ones of the world who, with a blink or two, are beginning to see what lies ahead and who they will accompany to the magical kingdom called tomorrow.
One wonders if in places like Africa or the Middle East or the dark alleys of America there will ever be a tomorrow for them, or if they will lie hungry and forgotten, pressed like petals between the pages of human history.
I would prefer to think that the generation that is beginning to take its place in the world will someday see beyond the elements that have traumatized us to a point of paralysis and realize that the secret to survival goes beyond occupying Wall Street to occupying a global conscience whose moral force could save us all.
Mountains and oceans and deserts of human resistance lie in the path of GracieAnn’s army of change, and we can only hope that when the infants are old enough they will also be strong enough to surmount the barriers that were too much for my generation to overcome.
We’ve heard all this before haven’t we, from someone else’s Grandpa Apple. Go forth, we keep saying, and change the world, but instead we melt into the crowd and jostle our way to payday, while the changes we make if any are miniscule.
But at least I can offer a phrase that resonated with me years ago. When I asked a rebel in the 1960s what advice he would give the next generation, he looked up at me after a march through the streets of Berkeley to end the war in Vietnam and said “Give a damn.”
Grandpa Apple repeats it here in reduced form: care. And march on from a word, GracieAnn, to rebuild the world.
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.
Joanne Cinelli Martinez is composed of artist, poet, gourmet chef, interior decorator, photographer, volunteer, and all around intelligent person; also the life long partner and care taker of the simple but happy little man who runs the blog. She views him with suspicion and uncertainty. It is a cautionary love story.