Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Visiting with Papa

I never had a Grandpa, both of them died the year I was born, but I have a Grandfather-in-Law and he is quite a man. My husband and he share the same name and our son is the fourth, although we changed up the middle name, Eugene was a name hubby wasn’t willing to pass along.

I’ve loved Papa from the beginning. He and Nana have always been our biggest fans and I owe all of the domestic training I’ve received to Nana’s guidance. She’s gone almost 10 years now and Papa has moved in with his youngest daughter.

Hubby and I have been pestering him to visit for years and this summer he finally came. He’s 89 so we are concerned this may be the last time and we are so very grateful that our son got a chance to meet his Great Grandpa. They got along famously, playing cards and taking care of the cattle and chickens together.

Papa tends to tell the same stories over and over again when he’s feeling a bit stressed and I’ve always teased him by finishing his stories for him, like the one about being a tail gunner in the war or the one about taking his Mother-in-Law on his honeymoon with him. Never have the same old worn out stories sounded so good as they do coming from him. They are the stories of a man of integrity, a man who loves his wife and worked hard to provide for his family, and defended his country in time of need.

We’ve got him thinking about splitting his time 50/50 between the Midwest and the West Coast, and much as we would love it, we’re not sure it will actually come to pass. He keeps commenting on how much more the people smile here than in California. I tell him it’s because we love people here, we don’t really embrace the whole “Death with Dignity” philosophy of putting our old folks down when they become an inconvenience to our lifestyle.

Hubby and I are both concerned that this visit may be our last and I keep hearing the strains of Jimmy Buffett’s Captian and the Kid floating through my head.

I never used to miss the chance to climb up on his knee
And listen to the many tales of life upon the sea
We'd go sailing back on Barkentines we'd talk of things he did
Tomorrow just a day away for the Captain and the kid

His world had gone from sailing ships to raking mom's backyard
He never could adjust to land although he tried so hard
We both were growing older then and wiser with the years
That's when I came to understand the course his heart still steers

He died about a month ago while winter filled the air
And though I cried I was so proud to love a man so rare
He's somewhere on the ocean now that's where he oughta be
With one hand on the starboard rail he's wavin' back at me

I am proud to love a man so rare.

Thank you Jesus for Papa, have mercy on him and in your kindness guide him home to you. Amen.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Aw, what a sweet post! He sounds like a great man, I'm glad your son and he had a chance to meet!