Weekend essay: Finnegan Alan Stone

Weekend essay: Finnegan Alan Stone

With all due props to Harry Chapin, the first grandchild arrived just the other day. He came into the world in the usual way.

Oh, Finnegan Alan Stone was 11 days early. And he did spend a week in the hospital just to make sure his lungs were up to snuff. But the little fella who began life at all of 5 pounds, 15 ounces is not only the picture of health but every bit the “Little Gentleman” that the saying on his first baby jumper proclaims him to be.

“He didn’t cry or fuss or anything,” daughter Kady said of Finnegan’s first visit to the pediatrician. Wait, dear one, wait.

Now, with that wonderful combo Gaelic/English name, a certain grandfather with a certain Gaelic/English/Scottish moniker can’t help but wonder if Finnegan, already called “Finn” by his parents, isn’t destined to be an author of some repute.

But whatever path Finn chooses, no doubt his name will lend flair to the endeavor.

All that said, the world certainly will change over the course of Finnegan’s life. And it most assuredly will be in ways few of us can imagine.

I think back to changes Finn’s late great-great-great grandmother saw in her life. Born in 1882, the year that Thomas Edison helped form the Edison Electric Illuminating Company in New York, Grandma Nick saw the birth of home electricity, the advance of the railroads and inventions as varied as the telephone, to the automobile, to propeller airplanes and jets, to the first computers and men walking on the moon.

What on Earth will Finn experience? Or perhaps the better question might be what in the universe will he experience? Finn very well could see space travelers land on Mars. Heck, Finn might even go to Mars.

But all this future talk is just that – talk. For now, he has to get used to the here and now.

That petite thing with a proclivity for funny voices is Mom.

That strapping thing who enjoys something called “hockey” and whose pulse races at the sight of a buck on the street is called Dad.

That white and black thing that looks like a small Holstein cow is Sam the Dog.

The all-black thing who apparently fancies Finn as his little brother (given his protective nature) is Henry the Dog (the spitting image of Finn’s late Uncle Brinkley the Dog).

Together, they form The Family Stone. And a newly minted grandfather’s wish for them is unapologetically cribbed from some fella named Thomas Jefferson, taken from a letter to Francis Willis in 1790:

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”

May the Family Stone’s moments number far more than a passing few.

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).