FROM JULY 22, 2013
I’m a dad, you know. And I’m a granddad. My son had a couple of granddads. Both of them are gone now. They both left way too early to teach my son some of the differing and significant ways for him to truly appreciate the both of them. But they each left my young son just enough of their different selves. And what they left is certainly significant. It is indisputable that the sense of adventure found in the hearts of my son and his mother came from her dad – Herman. “Herm,” we call him. Herm took us all to places we could only imagine. He made real our imaginations. That man made us parts of memories that will forever hold our hearts in timelessness.
But there’s another granddad of my son. “Paw-Paw,” my son calls him. We call him Joe. I call him Daddy.
Daddy died when my son was almost 8 years old. Joe lived in Jacksonville, Florida, the city where I grew up. When he died, I lived with Herm’s daughter and my son in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
This Lunar is about Joe.
Daddy gave to us some things that normal men and guys like Herm just could not. Herm was a no-nonsense Marine. Joe was a “fly-boy” during the war. You get the difference, I am sure. One of my son’s grandads, the Marine, lived mostly “by the book.” The other lived mostly by the seat of his pants. And he tended to use whatever was at his disposal at the time to make differences with folks. His methods were rarely clear. But his outcomes were. Always.
The man could laugh. The man could cry some, too. But mostly Joe gave us all laughter. And he was a jerk, too. He screwed up plenty. He knew it. His wife knew it. I know it and so do my siblings. But the man taught me how to just relax, enjoy whatever the hell is going on, and to move forward, showing me that doing anything else at those times is moving in the wrong direction.
I don’t believe Joe’s only grandson yet understands exactly what he got from Joe. He certainly understands Herm’s influence. My son was by that man’s side until the very end. Those two were best friends. But there is so much more that I see in my son these days. Of course, I see Herm there. But, my God, I see Joe, too. We all need a little “fly by the seat of your pants” attitude, don’t you think? And, for the love of God, we all need humor and laughter and some “at ease time,” too.
I guess it’s all just a balance of things. And balance is outcome. Simple. And clear.
Daddy was born 92 years ago. On July 16. That anniversary was just a few days ago.
As the years pass so frantically away from the given comfort of the living loved and from the clear and unclear methods of those who taught us things, life seems to last a bit longer and be truer when we witness in the eyes and hearts of those left behind the hearts and souls of those who left us. I hope that my eyes and my heart give witness to such keepsakes from Joe.
The eyes and heart of my son do. So do the eyes and hearts of my child’s sons.
Significant. To be sure. On Daddy’s birthday. And every day.