Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough:
Welcome to the world! You are our first great-grandson, and you could not have come at a better time. Our family has experienced the loss of a life much too young and with too much potential, and our grief has at times been overwhelming. Your appearance has given us a much-needed lift and the opportunity to look ahead with anticipation instead of always back in sadness. As I reflect on the unexpected death of your cousin, Zack, and your long-anticipated birth, I recall the lines from the book of Ecclesiastes: "There is a season for everything. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance." Only now do I appreciate the enormous significance of those words.
In case no one has told you, your name is special. "Cameron" is a tribute to your great-grandmother's Scottish heritage, being that she is a proud member of the Cameron clan. As for "Charles," that is a name that your dad, granddad and I are honored to share with you. You will also carry on the Yarbrough name for at least another generation, and that means a lot to me. Thank you.
Before you get too puffed up at all the praise, I must give some credit for your arrival to your momma and daddy. When you are a little older, they may tell you how you got here. Not me. Great-grandfathers are not required to talk about the birds-and-bees stuff. Been there. Done that.
You have picked your family well. You are destined to be doted on, fed well, own more clothes than you can ever wear and reside in a loving home. You will also have access to a great-grandfather who will be an easy mark for a few bucks whenever you need them - no questions asked. We should all be so lucky.
You have been born into a family that has learned the hard way that you must never take anything for granted. There are no guarantees. It had been my mistaken assumption all these years that if I did my job well, achieved success, maintained my integrity, earned enough money to take care of my family, did good works in the community and worshiped regularly, then all would be well. That is not the way life works. Life is fragile. Life can be very unfair. The sooner you know that, the better.
If I could wish you one trait, it would be passion. Care about something, and care about it passionately. Don't be a whiner and a complainer. If you don't like the way the world works, have the passion to try and make it better.
One of the things you will miss will be the opportunity to have known your cousin Zack. Zack was passion personified, whether it was his family, his friends or protecting the environment he loved so much. He didn't waste one day of his too-short life. Don't waste a day of yours, either.
I wish I had better news about the world into which you have been born, but frankly it is a mess. There is too much hate, too much noise, too many hyphenated people, too little integrity, too much trash that passes for entertainment, too much self-interest and too little patriotism. I hope you and your generation can get things back on track.
I apologize for rambling on when all you want to do is eat and sleep and eat some more, but I am just so happy to have you here. When you arrived, your daddy - my grandson, Brian - called and said you were "the most perfect baby ever born." I am sure there are those who would take exception to his assessment, but having seen you and held you, I must say he was pretty much on the mark. You are a keeper.
Thank you for coming, and thank you for reminding us that there really is a season for everything. A time to mourn and a time to dance. Today, we dance.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org, P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139, or Web site: www.dickyarbrough.com.