Grampy and Marley’s Breakthrough Conversation in the Park

by on March 14, 2022 · 11 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

I’m wallowing in the good feeling I was left with after spending time in a park with Marley, my six-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter.

I keep thinking how just a very few years ago we wouldn’t have survived an hour or two together, alone.

Because of what you might say: communication problems.

I could hardly understand what Marley was saying when she was a bit younger and the frustration from not being understood would set her off running and screaming and slamming doors.

We’d always hug and kiss and make up, though. This all took place in her house, however, as I wouldn’t have wanted any part in trying, as a Black man, in a public park, to deal with a girl, who looks White, having a world class conniption fit.

I could have ended up in the worst of circumstances if a cop or some fool revved up on his 2nd Amendment rights rolled up on that scene. Every American should know what I mean.

But this day in the park, with that fireball granddaughter of mine, was in a word, divine. Her maturity blew my mind. Starting when she said she didn’t care to play but wanted us to just sit down and munch our snacks and catch up because we hadn’t done that in a long time.

And we had a conversation of a lifetime, kicked off with a few words about her love for art, and about a drawing she did of me reading, a piece indicating that she knew I loved to read. I appreciate how she picks up on things nicely. What she drew is like a masterpiece to me, speaking grandfatherly.

Our little tete-a-tete then took on a sad tone as she told me, with wonder in her voice, that her brother’s best friend’s mother had hanged herself.

And, before I could react to her bewilderment, she let me know that she knew that her grandmother, my dear Nancy, had taken pills to end her life and I shared with her my thoughts of what that was all about, that she had gone months with little to no sleep and after trying to continue being the great mother and soulmate she had been she, in her exhaustion, just wanted to lay her head down and rest.

“I didn’t get to know her, but I miss her,” Marley said to me, and I could only say “I do too.”

I quietly hoped that we were through with the topic of dying but death was very much on this beautiful innocent little girl’s mind. “Past-life,” in particular.

“Do you believe in such a thing?” I asked.



“Because someone told me so.”

“That doesn’t make it real you should know.”

She gave me a look steeped in “Whatever.”

That ended our serious life and death chat and we shifted to lighter topics about a little bit of this and a little bit of that: talking with your mouth full and teachers who are mean which both of us see as uncool; our fears; her desire to have hair like Rapunzel’s long tresses; my hair being kinky and not very long; how we both like to sing songs; tattoos that go wrong; missing a family cat who’s gone…

After a while I got worn out with so much gabbing, but Marley could have talked all day long.

Our time together solidified for me how essential it is for us human beings to be understood.

And now my relationship with this precious member of my family tree, has come to where I’ve always wanted it to be: at a place where we can share our feelings easily.

I love this little girl with all that’s in me.

Drawing by Marley Mandela McCray Anderson

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren March 14, 2022 at 1:18 pm



Elaine D, March 14, 2022 at 1:52 pm

It is super special to have such a close connection with a family member, especially a wise child. You are a very fortunate Grampy Ernie. Love and hugs to you.


FJL March 14, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the ‘Feel Good’


Angie March 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm

Lucky Grampy!
Lucky Marley!
Thankful me to you both for allowing me read about it!


BARBARA LEWIS March 14, 2022 at 7:43 pm

Oh my goodness…what could be better. So lovely – a memory you will always hold dear. Thank you for sharing it.


Shirley Sprinkles March 14, 2022 at 8:01 pm

Aw-w-w! Such a sweet story! Being “present” takes on a whole new meaning in intimate settings like this one. With nuclear families scattered all over the globe these days, few of us grandparents get to enjoy these precious, poignant heart-to-heart chats with our grand babies—unless it’s a much-needed “therapy” convo when they’ve hit a proverbial wall in the 20’s and 30’s and are now thirsty for a dose of our warmed-over wisdom. . .
It’s never too late!


Thomas Gayton March 14, 2022 at 9:27 pm



Wendy Ellen Cochran March 15, 2022 at 12:51 pm

You are and have always been truly blessed. As the world swirls around us and changes abound….there are some things that remain constant. Family is everything! Sending hugs!


Patty Jones March 15, 2022 at 8:11 pm

Aw, Ernie, I so relate to this. I have a six and half year old granddaughter, also. Her name is Murphy and she is an old soul. We have the best talks when we are outside hanging out with the goats. One of the best ones of late was about how it feels to be “old” (because she is lucky enough to have a Gramma, me, and her Grammy, my mother). Not much different I tell her, we’re just slower for the most part.

Beautiful post, lucky Grampy.


Ernie McCray March 16, 2022 at 10:06 pm

And your granddaughter is lucky to have you. I just love the way kids that age think.


J.Gray March 24, 2022 at 6:05 pm

Thanks so much for sharing Ernie! It was very touching.


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