Monday, March 16, 2009

6 years

         with newphew/grandson Ian

    Dads memorial service the 21 gun salute

WOW hard to believe it has been 6 years since dad passed away.  In the beginning it was hard to imagine life could continue after the loss of a parent, but amazingly it does.  It has gotten easier every year as far as anniversary dates of different events but the one date that seems harder than all is the day of his passing.  We were going to see him only 2 weeks later for Easter and Benjamins 3rd birthday.  It is still a day of reflecting on the awesome man he was and what he meant to my life and the person I am today.  I try to celebrate it as he is no longer in pain, no longer all the heart issues that started plaguing him when I was only in the 7th grade.

So much to be grateful for has happened since he left this realm:

Mom remarried 2 yrs after he passed and seems happy.

We have had 2 new baby boys born into the family the last 2 years.  First babies for the family in 8 years. Elijah was born on our grandmothers birthday (dads mom) last year and Donald Lewis Harold W. late January of this year.  Lewis was dad's middle name.

I started a business, took some serious talks and words from him to heart and started acting on them,  the hardest of them was the "who cares what everyone else thinks" speech "live your life as you see fit".  We gave up the traditional life of a nice home, newer cars etc and decided to fulltime RV as it is more who we are. We are your modern day gypsies never knowing where life will take us next.  Maybe this is what happens when two geminis

I have so many memories.  Some great, some that make me sad, others are a blur.  But the best of them all is that this man took me in as his own as I was approaching 3 yrs old.  Where I used his last name since elementary school, I wasn't officially adopted as his until I was in high school. Unless something was said no one ever knew he wasn't my biological father.  He waited until he felt I understood what was being done as he felt it should be partially my decision too.  I remember at 3 taking him by the hand and asking if I could call him daddy and his reply was lets see what your mother says.  To be so young and vividly remember this moment must have meant the world to me.  

I remember long late into the night band practices that lulled me to sleep, the swimming pool in our backyard in TX and the fishing trips...ewww can you believe he expected me to put the worm on my own hook then take the fish off...I am still grossed by this portion just hand me a pole you do the, teaching me to mow lawn (ick, but I later looked at it as a great, and how to swim you know throw her in she will either sink or swim mom after that I am thinking had me in swim lessons, my first horse when I was nearly 12, first cattle drive he arranged for me to go on, Canoeing, how to camp and Godforbid you mention camping in an organized campsite as that is for wuss' lol.  Hunting he said be very quiet if I saw a deer....needless to say I shouted in excitement the only deer we saw that year and she ran away.  There is always that time my mom was literally going to beat the crap out of me for sneaking out in the night to go to the stables where the horses were down the road a piece.  Dad walked in as I was about to get it.  He convinced her to let him take care of it...we went behind closed doors me scared to death as he had never really punished me before and we had a talk and said he was going to have to spank me for the effect so to speak then after a couple swats he hit the bed a few more times for my moms sake.  This was our secret, but I suppose if she reads this the secret will be out.

I remember when he bought mom a new stereo and replaced it in the same spot in the living room and told me to keep quiet lets see how long before she notices.  I said ok daddy and the split second she opened the door I yelled again in excitment look what daddy and I got  I remember trying to pack my curling iron for our summer camping trip one year and him asking where are you going to plug that in at and I replied so matter of factly won't there be a current bush??  Funny how now I rarely use a curling iron or hairspray today.  Then there was driving lessons oh my look out the back roads of Powell Wyoming.  He said just don't do like your aunt irene and drive us into a ditch (irrigation canal was right across from our driveway) I wore yellow yield sign said in one ear 2nd said out the other.  Seemed fitting at the time.  I still have one of the earrings and keep it if for no other reasons than the memories. Really I wasn't too bad thinking back....or maybe that is just my  

His love for animals and teaching me to respect them, listen and learn what they have to tell me that I could learn a lot if only I would listen.  I remember Bob an australian shepherd that showed up out of the blue and we being miles from any town when our female dog became in said don't feed him so he will go away...haha yeah right and dad knew I was feeding him...I watched him first though;0)  he was always one for a good joke.  I never could remember a one of them to repeat, but enjoyed hearing them from him.

His neighborhood bbq's, he loved his bacon and egg breakfasts, or biscuits and gravy, pancakes he always seemed to love to make, big pots of homemade chili so hot we kids put ketchup in to tame it while the dog got a taste only to start barking at the bowl that sat in front of her, hot rolls he made for big family get together meals, cinnamon rolls he made for Christmas morning he seemed to really enjoy making them he even made mine seperate w/o raisins as I am not a fan of them.  I was never much interested in helping and now wonder how the heck did he get them so perfect.  I have the recipe he used and still can't get it right.  I still make his pot of chili with his recipe and get rave reviews where ever we go.  Yep chili and bbq you can tell even though we lived in later years in Wyoming we were Texans.  We said *say* ya'll, all those "redneck" slang words you hear about were so true in our home and he was a well rounded educated man, drank coke in a pepsi town/state therefore one year for Christmas in fact one of his lasts a family friend gave him a mouse pad with a dog peeing on coke mousepad for the computer.  Got a laugh out of dad.  Dad that same year got a HUGE years supply of corn flakes.  His favorite cereal.  the kids proudly helped him open up this big package When he passed away there was still a couple of boxes of which Benjamin was happy to take home and eat as it is his fav cereal.  One year for Christmas I saved a ton of my babysitting money to buy him a plate that said dad's been bar-b-queing.  I was proud to have saved all that money for something so special.  I never knew what to get him as he said he had all he needed...well everything but a good ceramic plate to put the cooked bbq on;0) OH and those dreaded looooong nights over a simple question in math.  I feared asking him math questions as 10 minutes into his speech I had quit listening as I understood the rest was oh really  Looking back at least he cared enough to stay up and be sure I understood and fought the teacher when they were wrong.  He stood his ground and eventually came to my mothers and grandmothers side to homeschool us kids after being told by my math teacher in high school to butt out.  There had been other issues between us 4 kids over time that this last straw was just a build up. Maybe this what we now say come to the dark side we have cookies;0)  Then there is the times he would come up behind you, jab you on the sides and yell BOO.  To this day the kids will try that on me and upset that I am not phased by it.  I am not a very jumpy person and I figure it is due to this.

Dad really loved his music and when I once asked why he didn't persue his dream further he simply replied he had responsibilities and accounting/bookkeeping paid the bills.  Those of you reading from Wyoming or the Big Horn Basin area may have known Bill and the Boys.  My dad was Vernon.  He walked me down the ailse and as we walked he said Carl and I were right for each other it was up to us to make it work even when times got tough and he was giving me away with full blessing.  Dads band at the time was new but they played for my wedding.  this is a memory I will always cherish. Or how Kelda tugged at his heartstrings when she said I love you grandpa when she was only 2yrs old.  I never really saw dad cry but when she said that I saw a tear well up that he tried to hide.  They really had a bond of sorts that she to this day remembers much about him and misses him so.  The other 2 didn't get to know him as well.  Benjamin was the only one he came to the hospital to see... being a heart patient hospitals weren't his favorite place on earth.  His favorite song was by Little Jimmy Dickens.

Today all good for you food diet aside and in honor of him we are having a biscuits, gravy and bacon breakfast, fried chicken for dinner and for me a shot of tequila (his drink of choice with a coke back) and a new rose in the vase.

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