Today is December 22, 2008, you have been gone a while. Five years if I recall. Has it really been that long? I'm not sure what prompted me to write this, but I've been missing you recently. It's not Fathers Day, or your birthday, but I still wish I could talk to you. I miss having you here.
There are so many times growing up that I wished I was anywhere except living under your roof. I wanted so bad, to grow up and get out of your realm. I dreamed about the day I could leave home and not have to carry my nasty handkerchief you insisted I brought with me wherever I went. I hated our math lessons, or that red maker you would use on my essays that I was so proud of. All those red marks that made me realize that I didn't have your brains, and would just never get it.
I also used to fear our times alone when I never knew what to talk about. I worried that I might say or do something that would make me feel stupid, or make you wonder how it was possible to have a son that was so little like you.
There were only a few times growing up when I realized that you were not the pillar of strength and insight that I had come to see you as through my young eyes. When you reminisced about your childhood and hardships you endured. I don't ever recall a time growing up when you cried. I knew you to be quite capable of strong emotion, but crying never seemed like something you would ever do. I'm sure it happened, but it doesn't fit with the template I made of you.
All the time though, I was listening. Mostly I listened and daydreamed, trying to picture you as a child with a house full of family and relations. I listened as you talked about your trip to Europe, with the duck hunting coat where you secreted away your poor boys. I listened as you talked about your time as a deputy sheriff. I listened as you talked about your trips around town in the car that you loved. I still cannot picture you in a bug eyed sprite, or as a young man in the Philippines but I accept that it was so.
If I had known at that time that you would be gone today and I would feel such a great loss for your company, I would have been dumbfounded. We never really understood each other, even being of the same blood. I sometimes wonder how that is possible. I can't explain it, it just is. I remember the way you would devour a book in an afternoon, while I played at the park, avoiding the 'Trolls' as you called them. I recall riding on your back in the pool and the joy of making you proud as I could hold my breath and swim the pools length underwater. I have lots of memories. Some that I relish, and some that I've let fade away. I've tried to let go of all the venom as I raise two children of my own.
That's right, you have two grandkids. They are both a mixture of myself and my bride, and as you are in me; part of their makeup is from you. Hannah has your insight. Alexis your will. Two granddaughters whom you will never meet. For whatever reason that struck me today.
I miss you Pop. I will forget, even recently, that you are gone. Mostly when I've seen a great movie, or wished for your political insight, or when I recently found myself writing a letter to the editor. A place where I would frequently see your well organized thoughts cutting through the emotion clutter with wisdom and truth. Oh to have just one more conversation about life, your crazy chickens or even a game of darts.
Many things have changed, but I'm still that little boy with his head in the clouds wanting desperately for his fathers approval. I know you were proud of me and what I had made of my life. Five years seems like an eternity. I wish you had made it a bit longer.
I love you, and I miss you,