This baby's future calls for shades

You weren't aware of it but a remarkable thing happened early on the morning of Oct. 14.

Both CNN and Fox news failed to send their well-coiffured talking heads to cover it. Angry radio talk shows didn't start spewing hate over the air waves because of it. No nerdy newspaper reporter wrote an analytical piece on its likely impact.

Grandson Charles Dexter Jacobs was born in Wichita, Kan., that morning. Perhaps it was just me but it seemed the sun shined a bit brighter and the sky was a shade bluer that day.

Maureen and I have been anxiously waiting for the little fellow, wondering what he was going to look like, hoping he would be healthy.

He arrived a wee bit early, weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. His mother, Sara Fattig Jacobs, is petite but his father, Chad Jacobs, stands 6'4". In no time at all Charlie will likely be a strapping young man towering over his big sisters, Taylor and Niki.

I fully expected that Charlie, like most newborns, would be as ugly as a shriveled prune. But e-mailed photographs reveal a hairy little fellow as cute as a bug's ear.

Yet when I look at his pink little sleeping face, dreaming dreams of the innocent, there is a feeling of sadness about the world he and his generation will inherit.

He arrives during an unsettled time both in our nation and abroad. Animosity and anger seem to rule the day.

Republicans despise Democrats and vice versa. Liberals and conservatives loathe each other. And many people of faith preach hatred toward anyone who disagrees with their religious views.

But I want Charlie to know that good far outweighs the bad. There are so many fascinating people, places and things waiting for him in our wonderful world.

Fortunately, he'll see that goodness reflected in his immediate family. He was named after Charles Potter, Chad's maternal grandfather, a pleasant human being reflecting my son-in-law's good family roots. Sadly, he died earlier this year.

Once Charlie is old enough to get his geographic bearings, he'll think the green plains of Kansas are a long ways from the mountains of Oregon. It certainly was when his great, great grandmother Harriet Lounsbury Fattig left northern Kansas in the late 1890s, bound for Jackson County with her new husband Jonas Fattig, Charlie's great, great grandfather.

But distances are much easier covered in our world, making the many wondrous places easier to visit.

He'll want to spend time checking out the Smithsonian Institution to study the fascinating array of things in our nation's attic. Lincoln's top hat is a little big for him just now.

I'd love to trek with him across the tundra in the Alaskan Arctic during June's 24-hour daylight. We'd stop and watch the lemmings pop up underneath our feet.

I want to show him the incredible variation of green that can be found in the Vietnam countryside. There is also that little woodcarving shop in Heidelburg, Germany, that looks like Geppetto just stepped out for a break.

And I want to take him on a train bumping across the green landscape of Ireland. We will stop in places like Killarny and walk among the Celtic ruins.

Back in the states, I want to take him canoeing on the Wood River in Southern Oregon. He'll also need to hike to the top of Mount McLoughlin.

Then there are the books we've collected that will broaden his mind and stir his soul.

James Herriott can tell him about "All Creatures Great and Small." Beryl Markham can take him "West With the Night." Charlie will also want to join John Steinbeck in his "Travels With Charlie."

Finally, it's not too early to starting thinking about his university education.

Chad attended Kansas State University, graduated from the University of Arkansas and worked at Oregon State University. He seems to be under the impression our little man Charlie may eventually attend KSU.

But I'm thinking that in about 18 years Charlie will need to take a visit to the beautiful campus of the University of Oregon, my alma mater.

Meanwhile, a little green Duck cap and yellow T-shirt will soon be in the mail to Kansas.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or at

Share This Story