Holiday Phone Calls with Family.


Yes, this is the time of year when Christmas cards and letters make their rounds, and the time when families grow a little closer in their closeness, and phone calls are made because – who knows why?

Now, I’m not a grandparent, yet I’ve been on the other end, listening to a grandparent’s attempts to converse with the grandchildren, the kids at an age where they can formulate complex sentences and make inquires of their own.

You know, conversation.

What I’ve heard goes mostly like this:

Grandparent: “Hi!  How you doin’?’

Grandchild: “O-kaaaaay.”

Grandparent: “How’s school?’

Grandchild: “O-kaaaaay.”

Grandparent: “What’s your favorite subject?”

Grandchild: “I don’t know.”

Grandparent: “What are you doing in Scouting?”

Grandchild: “I don’t know.”

Grandparent: “Who is John Galt?”

Grandchild: “O-kaaaaay.”

By this time, the conversation gets overly strained, and usually the kid is handing the phone to a parent in desperation over this reenactment of the Spanish Inquisition.

So, my best friend and I devised a list of possible questions for grandparents who know this struggle, and truly know their grandchildren really aren’t interested in any conversation.  The following are best posed to kids under the age of sixteen:

  1. My, how you’ve grown!
  2. Have any good job offers lately?
  3. Are you in graduate school yet?
  4. Who’s your favorite clown?
  5. Paper, or plastic?
  6. Are you keeping up with the Kardashians?
  7. Are you looking at Annapolis or West Point?
  8. Where’s the beef?
  9. So, what kind of pimple medicine do you use?
  10. Did you make your vote count?
  11. Who’s your favorite on “Dancing with the Stars”?
  12. Does America really have talent?
  13. Are you smarter than a fifth grader?
  14. What kind of car are you driving these days?
  15. Have you discovered those magazines in your daddy’s closet yet?
  16. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  17. Who is your spirit animal?
  18. Are you your brother’s keeper?
  19. Heads, or tails?
  20. How much wood can a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I’m sure there are a million more way-out questions that are guaranteed to at least bring meaningful conversation with the grandchildren’s parents, once the grandchildren drop the phone and run.

Hope this list is a start for all grandparents to add a little zing! to Christmas phone calls with their grandchildren—

©2022, excerpt from “Holidays on the Edge”

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