For reasons I cannot fully explain, my ex-children and I communicate through text messaging, in lieu of the traditional phone call. If you think my writing is bad, you should see my texting.
Confession: I once tried to answer a text from daughter Aran while I was at the wheel of the mighty Tundra. It was indecipherable to Aran who replied, “I don’t speak 70.”
After spending Father’s Day at the campgrounds with Bridget and the ex-grandchildren, she noted that she was coming to Rockland for a class reunion. Naturally, I offered the services of Cobb Manor, including babysitting. Tragically, I forgot the reunion date. I have no memory — at all.
A week later, I got a text asking if I could babysit on July 9. It was from a strange number, but I assumed it was Bridget, using the campground phone. Being a dedicated Grampy, I hastily agreed.
All of a sudden, July 9 became D-Day. First, Texas Larry texted (naturally) to offer a free night’s stay at Hancock Point, plus dinner at the estimable Crocker House — on July 9. Then Blue Eyes reminded me of our half-price coupon at Camden’s best restaurant (according to me), The Hartstone Inn. Expiration date? July 9.
Naturally, we declined Texas Larry’s sensational invitation and were prepared to beg the Hartstone Inn for a coupon extension.
Then another text arrived, asking me if my babysitting services would extend to Tuesdays and Thursdays through the summer. Since the ex-grandchildren were in Naples, I thought the commute might be excessive. When the text mentioned my existing job, even I suspected a problem was brewing.
Me? A job?
Taking a step back from modern communication, I actually called, not texted, Bridget to see if they were all staying at Cobb Manor on July 9.
“Huh?” she said. And she is the college graduate. She had no (expletive deleted) idea what I was talking about, since the reunion was on July 30. She never texted me about babysitting, she said.
“Huh?” I replied.
Getting with the flow, I texted (not called) my new contact and told her she must have the wrong number and she would have to find new babysitting arrangements. But, she texted back that Kaitlin had assured her it was all set. I had no idea who Kaitlin was and had no idea who the texter was. She finally got the message after a few more text exercises. No calls, naturally.
I never actually spoke to my new friend and had no idea who she was. I assume it was a she. I don’t know why. Because men don’t make babysitting arrangements, I guess.
It was now too late to accept the Texas Larry invitation. But we did have plenty of time for the Hartstone Inn. Crab cake appetizer and pesto cod for the entree. I didn‘t even know I liked cod. I do now. Teeny glasses of $8.50 wine, but no place is perfect. Blue Eyes had polenta in a Madeira sauce, which she adored.
All right. I am a Scott’s Place kind of guy, but I have never had a better meal in my life than the Hartstone served.
I found out the next day that Bridget took the ex-grandchildren to the drive-in that night. She said on Facebook, (not on the phone, naturally), “$5 for candy. $25 for tickets to the drive-in. Daughter (Meara) throwing up halfway through the movie: priceless.”
I’m glad I wasn’t babysitting.
But I have to wonder where those poor “other kids” ended up.
Maybe I should text them.

Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at