Thursday, July 17, 2014

Memories to Share?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not that good at speaking in front of a group of people. So yesterday, before the prayer service, I was grateful when one of the other daughters (in-law) agreed to speak on behalf of everyone else when it came time to share memories. As she brought out notecards, the memories started flowing from everyone. But when they asked me - my mind went blank. I knew I had tons of great memories of Dad, but couldn't come up with a single specific one. It wasn't until prayer service was underway that they started coming to my brain...

One of the greatest things I loved about this man is that family was not only designated by blood. Never once did he (or his incredible wife) make me feel like an in-law... like an outsider. We all hear the horror stories on in-laws, and I have been incredibly blessed to never have to deal with that. To Dad, his children, their spouses, his grandchildren - they were all his family, to be loved and protected by him. I was privy to his lectures, and his love.

And he loved picking on all of us. I remember one day not too long ago when Tyler jokingly called me a dumb ass in front of Dad. Dad found that funny and so almost every time I saw him after that day, he'd call me that. No one was safe from Dad's humor.

I can't cook, especially grilled cheese sandwiches. Somehow, they always end up black. One day, about 10 years ago, the kids asked me what was for supper. I told them grilled cheese - so they called up Grandma and Grandpa and asked if they could eat there. Dad loved reminding me of this.

Shortly before Tyler and I got married, Mom and Dad let me move in with them. Our wedding was only a couple weeks away, and stress levels were a little high between my soon-to-be-husband and myself. So Dad in all his wisdom bought us Monopoly to give us something to do to de-stress. It didn't work quite how he expected (or, maybe it did...?). Tyler and I would get so mad at each other playing this game - we'd end up throwing the money and/or entire board off the table and stomp downstairs yelling at each other. Dad would just be sitting there at the kitchen table laughing at us.

Most of my memories with Dad revolve around my children. Cassie was Papa's little girl - he was the first to hold her when she was born. The nurse had just brought her in to me, and I let Dad hold her first. They bonded instantly. I remember him always calling to ask if they could come take her for the weekend... or week. I remember him playing with her outside, or sitting at the kitchen table with her on his lap.

I remember the phone call from him 12 years ago. He had 3 of my children out at the farm because my youngest had just been born and they wanted to give me some adjustment time. It was around 5pm or so when he called. He asked how things were going... I said ok, how are things there? And he responded very nonchalantly "Oh, things are ok. We just had a tornado come through - it took the barn, the house, everything. But we're all ok." I didn't believe him. He just seemed so calm and casual. It wasn't until he put Mom on the phone that I realized they had indeed lost everything. The house was gone. They'd only survived because he had the foresight to get everyone into a small room that was through a hole in the wall that contained the opening to the well. Dad stood over that well so the kids wouldn't fall into it, and Mom stood with her back to the opening so the kids would be safe.

Well, I could probably go on for hours, but sadly, I have to get ready for his funeral.

I love you Dad. You are missed.

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