There will be extended versions of each of these memories that I will share below, but as my mind has been running at full speed trying to find the best way to put into words the many memories I have of Papa, I’ve found myself going in so many directions that I decided a list, which will in no way be categorically or linearly correct, would be a good way to get started.
I will start with perhaps one of the earliest memories I have of Papa. I can’t be for certain how old I was, but I remember Papa chasing me around the yard at Nana and Papa’s house. I remember this like a snapshot, it is so vivid in my mind. I was always, and still remain, a tightly wound individual and running around has always been a joy for me so when Papa used to chase me I always got such joy from it. I always loved playing tag with him and on this particular occasion, he was in the back corner of his yard (for reference I’ll say he was by the bird bath) and I was hiding behind the tall pine tree next to the clothes line, which is sadly no longer standing. I have no recollection of what I was wearing, but Papa was wearing the classic Dickie’s work pants he always wore, his work boots, the denim coat with flannel lining that will outlive God himself, and the light blue sock cap that was actually a ski mask rolled up that he always wore.
I remember peeking around the tree’s trunk only to see a spry Papa running full speed ahead so I bolted only to be caught instantly by Papa’s then strong hands.
The most amazing part about this memory is how fit papa was, even into his mid-seventies. Considering I’m now 25 and Papa 93, and I can only imagine I’d have been at least 4 or 5 years old when this would have occurred which would have made papa 72 or 73 years old running at full speed.
From this point on I’ll list memories as I ramble them off:
- Papa loved to say, “Boy, we’re eating high on the hog now” whenever we sat down to a good meal.
- Papa’s yard was a model of perfection
- he loved his suspenders
- his workboots
- Papa owned so many hats
- fishing at the creek and catching my first bass, which almost caught me.
- The challenge of starting the weed eater
- Papa loved dessert, still does, in fact
- instant coffee
- the sheet of metal behind the stove at the creek
- spaghetti and meatballs
- time value of money
- good companies
- United Ministries, formerly known at EEUM, Erlanger Elsmere United Ministries
- “The Jimmy” which was the name of every truck, SUV, he ever owned
- come here Greg… or Geor… oh, KEITH
- I’ll give you a hicky
- I’ll put a knot on your head
- stop sitting there like a bump on a log
- peanut butter and jelly
- soup for lunch
- “Shoot a Monkey”
- “I love you”
- honey, “Honey”
- “Mother used to…”
- the second pew at church
- singing the Alleluia chorus with names of church members and ending on “And Oscar Smith” (thanks Daniel Nelson)
- Walking sticks
- creek shoes
- the ripples, riffles, we could never remember the name and I still don’t
- “heave, ho” in the canoe
- using a tarp to pick up leaves
- using papa as the subject in any biographical writing piece I ever had to write in school
- chocolate candy and clementines for Christmas.