No gift under the tree was greater than the one I received one week before Christmas – my fourth grandchild.

Archie Ryan entered the world about half past six Tuesday, Dec. 18. I trust he will grow up to be even-keeled because he weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

I have no idea what his 20-3/4” length will mean in the future, but just like the previous three grandchildren, I can’t wait to watch them grow.

One thing I can say is I’ve never seen a newborn with so much jet-black hair. I mean, he may have to get a haircut before I see him again!

Archie is already in Poppie’s good graces because he waited until we got back from our anniversary cruise, and waited to make his grand entrance until the midweek edition of this newspaper was sent to press. That sure made it nice.

Archie is the son of my youngest daughter and her husband.

They now have three children.

The good news for me is this “add grandkids to the Poppie list” doesn’t end yet.

My oldest daughter and her husband will welcome a little girl into this crazy world some time in May, giving them one boy and one girl.

That will make three male grands and two female grands.

With each grandchild one can’t help but think about the circle of life.

Stimulating that thought, my brother recently emailed a few pictures of original oil paintings by my mother. Mold ruined them after a water leak flooded one of the storage rooms at their home in New Braunfels. My parents are living in a nursing home, so they didn’t know about the leak until a neighbor discovered it.

The pictures my mother painted brought back memories of my youth, way back when.

She painted the pictures when we lived in New Orleans (sometime prior to 1964). I always remember them being in our house.

Saying prayers at night before going to bed was a common ritual as a child and continues to this day. So much so that my mother painted the scene (see picture).

On one hand it’s sad to see the paintings destroyed, but on the other hand, it’s nice to see pictures from my childhood.

It warms my heart knowing our children pray with their children before they go to sleep.

My mom’s painting of the praying children could fit comfortably in any one of my grandchildren’s rooms.

I hope each of you have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Until next week, have a good week.

Mike Probst can be reached at

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