Grandparents Day event Saturday at Linnaeus Teaching Garden
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Friday, September 07, 2012
9/07/12 at 5:54 AM
Pointing to just one thing that makes "Papa John" so special is difficult.
Ryan King, 11, crosses his leg and props his elbow on his knee, running the tips of his fingers across his front teeth pensively.
He can't put his finger on it. "Emily? You got anything?" he asks his twin sister.
"I'm not sure, just sort of everything he does," Emily King says. "Being there, I guess."
And being the best he can be, Ryan adds.
The grandfather in question, John King, is working to make this year's Grandparents Day a little more special for all grandparents.
Papa John, along with other Linnaeus Teaching Garden volunteers, and Barry Fugatt, Tulsa Garden Center director of horticulture, are putting the finishing touches on the first celebration of Grandparents Day at Linnaeus, 2435 S. Peoria Ave. It's set for Saturday.
Fugatt couldn't find a real event to recognize the day and thought it was a shame - especially because grandparents are increasingly being asked to take on more responsibilities in the lives of their children's children.
Emily and Ryan have been visiting King's home and garden since they were about 5 years old.
And Papa John has been coming to Linnaeus for about a year and a half. On Labor Day, he was teaching Emily and Ryan about where cotton comes from. He picked up a white boll and explained that cotton is what allows dollar bills to be washed. It's been Emily's favorite lesson so far.
This is the type of hands-on lesson that Papa John, 72, says children don't get too often these days. Sports, dance, TV and technology all compete for children's time and attention - different from his own childhood when he grew up on a farm. Still, he didn't get to spend all the time he wishes he had with his own grandparents, he says - time spent asking questions, learning their life history.
Stories of his grandmother's long walk from Kansas to Texas, of his great-grandfather, who fought in the Civil War.
Some of these stories Papa John only learned in his mid-50s, and he takes every opportunity he can to share them with his two grandchildren.
Both Fugatt and King think the Grandparents Day event will give grandparents the opportunity to share some things about gardening that their younger family members do not know and even some things that have nothing to do with the garden at all.
At Saturday's event, in addition to touring the garden, a photographer will be present to take complimentary souvenir photos of grandparents with their family members. The first 50 grandmothers will be given a nosegay, and local Boy Scouts will be available to assist with parking and garden tours.
For grandparents whose grandchildren are unable to attend, scouts can volunteer as surrogate grandchildren for the garden tour.
For more on the Grandparents Day event, call 918-746-5125 or visit tulsaworld.com/tgc
Grandparents Day, which has more than one origin, dates back to the 1970s and West Virginia homemaker Marian McQuade, who championed educating people about the important contributions of senior citizens. She is said to have urged people to adopt a grandparent for a life experience.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation making the first Sunday after Labor Day as the day to honor the nation's grandparents.
The official flower of Grandparents Day is the forget-me-not.
Original Print Headline: Garden hosts Grandparents Day event
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
John King enjoys a day at the Linnaeus Teaching Garden with his 11-year-old grandchildren Ryan and Emily. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World