He Was Ours.

What words does one find and use for a man that stepped up when he didn’t have to? There really are none. Sometimes I really do wish I was an animal so I wouldn’t have use such a measly form of expression. I have been wracking my brain and avoiding this ever since I was asked to put some words down. The truth is, my Grandmother would not have chosen a different man. Harry was that man. Harry was my Grandfather. He was our Grandfather even if blood did not make it so.

My Grandfather Harry went to his Heavenly home last week after a long and blessed life. He was almost 99 years old. It was not that long ago that he was still mobile and independent and his mind was his pretty much until the end. He is now whole and free. There is no more of the pain and suffering.

He lived quite a life. He was a decorated war veteran. He was a career man. There is much that can be said, but more importantly than all of that, he was a family man. A Son, a Brother, a Husband, a Father, a Grandfather, a Great Grandfather.

We were blessed with and by him. He was ours and we were his. I always felt this. Sometimes when I would call them and he would answer the phone, he would immediately say, “Hold on, I’ll go get her.” My response would always be, “Harry, I want to talk to you too.”


There is a picture somewhere of him that shows him. Him. Who he was to the core to all of us, if I can be so bold as to speak for others in my family. It is somewhere and I can not find it. It wasn’t staged or posed. He wasn’t wearing a suit or a uniform dressed with medals. He wasn’t alone. He didn’t have a young man’s head of hair. Although, he always had good hair. It was that beautiful white gray. Oddly enough I do not think my Grandmother was even in the picture, which is crazy because they were always together! She might have been behind the camera. She is always taking pictures.

It was at a long ago birthday party of ours at some big venue I think. There were kids everywhere, visible even in the tight frame.  They were not the focus of the photo. It was one man and one birthday kid. Full of smiles and love and life and color. Vital. He was always smiling.

Man that just smacks me right in the chest right now and has fresh, solitary tears streaming down my cheeks.

I can’t even find the photo.

It seems almost a wonder that the photo was even snapped and caught because in my memory it was somewhat blurry and out of focus with faint streaks of light across it. Taken in a quick flash in low lighting. I think there was even a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. The photographer trying to enjoy the moment and create a lasting memory at the same time.

There was a big slide wherever this party was being held and right there in the middle of it, sliding down the slide like a kid himself, was Harry with one of us three girls in his lap. Both smiling in delight. I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that with kids these days. Something about ripping their arms and legs off. I think kids are supposed to wear harnesses and seatbelts now. Anyway.

I can’t find the picture.



My Grandmother used to always have freezer waffles for me in the mornings when I would sleep over as a kid. Nobody could prepare them like her and it could not be recreated at home. At some point in time, and I do not know why, Harry started making waffles and I never gave another thought to freezer waffles. Every time after that when I would sleep over, we would have Harry’s waffles. He made the world’s best waffles. We all loved his waffles. He whipped the egg whites by hand to fold into the batter. That made them light, and airy in texture on the inside, but they also had a lovely crisp on the outside.

They loved to go out to breakfast as a couple. When I stopped sleeping over at their house, I started to join them for breakfast sometimes. Harry found the best waffles at Le Peep and that came to be the only place we would go as the three of us so Harry and I could get waffles. I still think they are the best waffles if you can not have Harry’s waffles. They used to also have a standing date with a big table at a local Tex-Mex restaurant on Sunday evenings. It was almost like a revolving door dinner in my mind, even if I did say I was crashing their dinner when I would invite myself to come. Whoever wanted to come could come. Like when he would go to breakfast, he generally ordered the same things for dinner there too.

Harry knew that I liked to cook and bake and experiment in the kitchen. At some point before he married my Grandmother he had collected recipes and organized them in a recipe box. Every time he saw an interesting recipe, he would just store it away. He told me that he had not even looked at them since he married my Grandmother. He gave me his box of recipes that he had held on to for all those years. I loved to get Harry’s feedback on my desserts at our family gatherings. He was always very thoughtful and honest. He was a great listener and not just of words.


He always did the dishes. I don’t ever remember not having an awareness of him doing the dishes. It was his thing. There was nothing to ‘get’ or understand about it. It was his thing. The first time I tried to help him, he all but shooed me out of the kitchen. It was his domain after a meal was prepared. I don’t know if it was his little quiet in our family craziness or just what he did. He finally did let me help after my insistence, but we had to do it his way. So we did. He taught me how to use the disposal. I always wondered how he did the dishes so quickly!


When my Grandparents would come to the farm, Harry would always take time for a walk down the lane. Before he would bring a cane, he would find a sturdy and straight stick of pecan wood to use as a walking stick. Sometimes others would join him on his walk and sometimes he would go by himself, but he would always come back with a gathering of pecans. I think the pecans he gathered on one of his last walks a few years ago entertained my cousin’s daughter, L, for a good long while after we taught her how to use a nut cracker.


At my Grandmother’s birthday celebration last year, we gathered in their back yard to have sandwiches and cupcakes. You see they have one of the best yards. Harry meticulously cared for their yard and flower beds for as long as I can remember. There was always something beautiful to look at and, man, their lawn! It is a great lawn. We had many great Easter egg hunts in that yard. I think all of us cousins look at a yard and think what it would be like to have an Easter egg hunt there because of our memories there. Anyway, we celebrated my Grandmother’s birthday out there. Covid gave us an excuse to. My cousins were there with their kids and I was there with Merle. Harry came over to me in his wheelchair and told me to go shut the driveway gate so I could let my pup off the leash. He wanted him to play with the kids in the yard and on the lawn. To be free, like the kids in that way of kids. I do not really even know if he was really a dog man, but he always was happy to let me go on about my animals. I gladly did as he asked and shut the gate. As the two of us watched kids and dog play in the yard he said to me, “Your Grandmother and I always dreamed of having all the kids play in this yard.” I do not think his smile ever looked so big and bright. I wonder if that is why he always kept it just so.  

Well, Harry, your dream came true. At least in my eyes.


Ever faithful. Ever constant. Ever present.

He was a presence in our lives.

I remember him like he was in this video. He was 91 in this video. What a man! What a life!

Walk in love, dear readers.

Go be with your loved ones. Share your love and memories.

Pops

Pops.

179758_10152918401950527_2117969553_n
Teaching me how to shoot.

That is what I call my Dad. That is now what my niece and nephew call him.

536501_10152161429950527_1101200822_n
With baby Nephew H.

When I wrote about my Mamma for Mother’s Day, I thought to myself, “words. These are just words. They do not do her justice.” Now I naturally have the same thoughts as I try to pen something in honor of my father.

 

 

 

As a Texas outdoors man with three daughters, he raised us the way he knew how. With a love and respect for the outdoors and God’s creation. We get our love of Texas and dogs from him. He taught us how to fish and hunt and how to be good stewards. To sit around the fire pit, watch the sunset, and contemplate life.

He worked his butt off for us. Honestly, I am where I am today because of everything he has done. One time when I was younger, on our way to south Texas, I asked him what exactly he does for a living. The resulting explanation and conversation lasted longer than the five hour plus drive.

His friends tell me, among many things, how he is a fine sportsman and not your average CPA. I certainly always knew the first one. That last one always makes me laugh to myself. He is a socks and Birkenstock kind of guy sometimes, even if Mamma tells him he should not wear that.

He allows us to be who we are and celebrates it. It is no wonder I march to the beat of my own drum and can seem by some respects as a walking, talking oxymoron.

When I was little, he would tuck me in at night while we sang the Lord’s Prayer together. I can’t sing it any other way than the way we sang it. (Side story, Nephew H once told me I sang it wrong because it was not the way his mother sang it to him at bed time. I laughed and halfheartedly told him he sang it wrong.)

I learned how to be safe around horses from him. To love the country and agriculture. To drive and pull trailers.

More than once he took me out of school to head to the hunting lease with one of the dogs. Just the three of us. I thought that was the coolest thing.

He taught me how to fish with a top water and then proceeded to tell me that if I cast it that far out there, I would have a hard time setting the hook. I just smiled as I turned and said, “like this?!” as I hooked a big speckled trout. I can still hear him saying, “keep your rod tip up.” For years, his reward for teaching us to love fishing, we got to land every fish he caught while he untangled our crossed lines. Luckily for him, we can now catch our own fish without tangling our lines. To this day, fishing is my second most favorite thing to do next to riding horses.

On our way to church, we would drive a certain way to go over this train track on a hill because we thought it was fun. It was on top of a big hill in my memory, but it is not a very big hill at all in adult reality. Anyway, we got a kick out of it to drive really fast and bounce up and down in our seats over the tracks. We would laugh and yell. On the way home, we would stop at the filling station to get a Big Gulp. That’s a fountain Coke for all you people that do not know.

Often times, he would let me pick the route we drove home from the farm. Crisscrossing our way through the countryside on the back roads with the windows down. Just listening to music, enjoying the country, and delaying getting back to town. Then we would stop and get a chocolate cinnamon milkshake to share before we got home. We would throw the evidence away before Mom could find out. Although, I am sure she always knew.

One weekend he did laundry at least three times at the farm as my friend and I slid down the muddy slope of a hill into the pond over and over spreading wild flower seeds for him.

 

To celebrate him, we will do what we do. Have a family dinner. Listen to music. Thank the Lord while Pops says the prayer.

I know days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be hard for some who’s parents are no longer with us in this life. Indeed it makes it hard right now to even write these words. The thing is though, they are all still here with us in our hearts. In what they taught us. In their memories. Never far away. And you will see them again one day, in their finest form.

What is your favorite memory with the father from your life?

Walk in love, dear readers! Peace, love, and joy.

Music Monday

Hey there! Long time no chat. Remember me?

Today is a Music Monday kind of day.

Well really every day is a music kind of day to me, but I have a special song to share with you today.

Written about the loss of a loved family music man, it is speaking to me today. I think ol’ Geege would approve and be happy with our celebration of his life last week.

A few others for you in honor of our family music man. Because who doesn’t like to get a little teary on a Monday?!

I know I do.

Liz-lemon-eye-roll

Just a glutton for punishment I am. These are the songs we sang at the service…

It was at about this time, when this song was ‘sung’ by all of us, in the memorial service that I lost it. I say ‘sung’ because I could not do it. I was not prepared to sing this at the beginning. I was hanging my hat on it being at the end. It was about downhill from there for me.

Then there was a medley of these greats.

And then this one at the close. I mean lawd. Bowl me over twice.

For the full effect, here is the actual medley. This is my Aunt’s Sister. If only I could sing  Even if I could, I would not be able to keep it together.

I mean, does that get you like me?

Oh boy was I tired after all that. And then getting sick again.

It is crazy how you listen to all of these songs a million times and then bam, they all have  a new memory and meaning.

Music is so great that way. How it attaches itself to you and intertwines with certain memories and feelings. Like the stitches on the fabric of your clothes or the fibers of your being. How it brings us all together and takes down the barriers. Makes you feel and floods you with emotion.

Know what I mean? No? Oh well.

Walk in love, dear readers.