Papa

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

 

 

In December, two weeks after my Mimi passed, my Papa left this earth to join her. In the span of just a few weeks, they were both here and then they were both gone.

My sweet Papa.

He was an adventurer. He traveled West as a young man and spent most of his life under the Arizona sun. He and my Mimi logged thousands of miles on road trips. When they got home from their trips, my Papa would trace the roads they had taken on the map behind him in the picture at the top of the post. I think my deep love of road trips comes from him. I took many a road trip with Mimi and Papa. I’d sit in the back seat as we drove down desert roads listening to news radio. There was always a stash of Baskin Robbins ice cream hard candy and Mentos in the car, and a special car trashcan to place the wrappers in.

He loved cereal. To this day, I think of him every time I sit down to a bowl of cereal. He like to mix his all together- a little bit of shredded wheat mixed with cheerios and perhaps some grape nuts. Papa ate all the cereals you’d expect an old person to like. This love of mixed up cereals was passed to me during the weeks I would spend with them during the summers.

Papa had gleaming white hair and smelled like laundry detergent and sawdust. He gave the very best hugs.

He was a very talented woodworker. He built me a dollhouse when I was a little girl and then he made me candle holders, salt and pepper shakers, and napkin holders when I got married. His woodworking has carried me through every life stage. Sitting in his wood shop and watching him work was an intensely calming pastime. He was steady and smooth as he turned wood on his lathe or sanded his projects to a soft gleam. It was incredible to watch him make something beautiful out of a hunk of wood.

I always believed that there was nothing that Papa couldn’t fix. He was always out in his yard or in his garage tinkering and fixing and beautifying. He took such good care of his house and his yard and his family. He also took care of their little town. I remember many a walk with Papa through the Bowie cemetery as he made note of weeds to be pulled and things to be fixed and tidied up.

I’ll never forget his quick wit and comedic timing that always took me by surprise. He could play a game of Shanghai or dominoes with skill and good humor as he beat everyone before we even knew what was happening.

He took me to my first basketball game. I was pretty sure that I didn’t care for basketball, but Papa told me how exciting basketball was to watch in person. He was right. It’s one of my favorite memories.

Papa and I would watch basketball, and the news, and westerns together in the living room. I don’t remember much of what was happening on the TV, but I do remember spending that time with him as we escaped inside from the afternoon sun.

Soft spoken, with kind eyes and a gentle face, Papa was the sort that was quiet but strong. He never seemed old to me. He was always full of life and energy; as though he didn’t take any of it for granted.

The way he looked at my Mimi would bring tears to my eyes, especially once I got married and I was better able to understand the undertaking that marriage is. It was such a beautiful love that they shared.

There is so much to say about him and how much I loved him. He was my friend and my mentor; a strong and steady companion.

It’s been hard to process their passing because they really never seemed old to me; they always seemed to stay the same age. They were truly an example of how to grow old with grace and full of life.

On the night that Papa passed away, there was a meteor shower. Nathan and I went out to one of the lakes on Post and found a dark patch of beach to lay a blanket on. We stared up at the meteors shooting across the sky and Nathan leaned over to me and said “I think this is for them. These beautiful shooting stars for Mimi and Papa as they are reunited.” I can’t imagine anything more fitting.

My Mimi and Papa created a beautiful legacy. They loved each other for a long time. My Papa was a good father, husband, and grandfather.

He and my Mimi had five children and oodles of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My whole family, all the children and spouses and new babies, are all because of Mimi and Papa.

I miss them both so terribly.


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