Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Reflections

Well, I made it through another Father's Day. My dad passed 18 years ago but my grandpa, who holds the title of "father" in my heart passed, away just under two years ago.

First dad... He was a funny, warm man who popped in for the occasional birthday or holiday. Sometimes he'd bring my brother with him. That was always a treat! Sis and I loved playing with RR. Dad would usually pick up a guitar at some point and start playing "Keys to the Kingdom". He had a Merle Haggerty kind of country voice. Grandma would often harmonize in her low, low alto/tenor. Good times!

Dad became more of a regular fixture in our lives after the birth of my Sis's first child. The first grandchild... a granddaughter. I remember he brought her a stuffed Garfield the cat for her first birthday party. Two years later, Sis added another granddaughter, and I added his first grandson to the family. Two of my favorite pictures of him are with his first granddaughter and grandson. The final years we spent getting to know him were very special ones, filled with shared stories and laughter.

Grandpa became "father" to me when I was 8 years old... long story to be saved for another day. Anyway, he was the best. A gospel minister who loved to sing in a painfully offkey voice, but the joy that came with that voice was infectious. He drove my sister and I to school every morning and he had made up a little tune that we all sang together. "The sun's gonna shine this morning..." we'd chime in "Yeah, yeah, yeah" (a kind of Beatles after part). It would set us off laughing. Grandpa had a laugh that would lift the heart.

Here I am at Christmas time at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
I just found this photo recently and I love it. Grandpa almost always had that smile on his face! I couldn't find the pictures of my Dad with the grandkids so I'll have to add them at a later time.

My grandpa loved to garden. He tended the vegetables and flowers with equal care. He loved his grapevine and his gooseberry bushes. For years, he mowed the lawn in an old pair of slacks and a white button up shirt... usually long-sleeved. I still remember when he was given a denim jacket and a pair of jeans. He put them on, and he looked so out of character. My whole life I had never seen him in jeans!

My grandpa took special pride in a lilac "tree". He carefully tended one slender lilac branch, pruning away each year until it had thickened into a trunk and grew into a beautiful little tree. There were some who laughed at his little "stick" in the ground that were later amazed at how lovely it turned out to be.

I love the fact that I have so many good memories to dwell on. Sure, there were some hard times, but I have so much joy to remember. I like to think there were lessons learned from the difficulties, but the best lessons came from the love and the laughter that we shared.

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