yep, and you already know." The simple way my Pa and I let each other know we loved the other. Today, July 6, 2007, would have been Pa's 78th birthday. He passed away December 25, 2000. I miss him and think about him every day. I miss not being able to talk to him. I wish so much that he could have met his great grandsons and I know they would have loved him. I am so thankful for all of the memories I have.Pa, me and our cat, O.C. Luther Mae in Nov. 1979
- One of my favorite memories is our Sunday night dinner ritual. Growing up, as far back as I can remember, my moms side of the family always gathered for Sunday night dinner at my Nan and Pa's house. All the way up until I left for Chicago, we ate Sunday night dinner at their house. Everyone was welcome. I had friends that loved to come and Nan and Pa always made everyone feel welcome. Pa was a great cook and always cleaned up too. I can picture him standing in the kitchen now, at the kitchen sink, towel over his shoulder, telling whoever was trying to help to get out of the kitchen, he would take care of it. When we were in grade school, after dinner Pa would pack the four grandkids into his truck and we would go get the cylinder shaped ice cream scoops from Thrifty's. It was always so much fun, especially when he would let us get double or triple scoops. (Pa always said my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I think he was right!)
- I remember spending many nights at their house, with my sister and our cousins, Josh and Luke. My sister and I in one room and Josh and Luke in the other, each of laying on the floor, in the doorway of the rooms, whispering back and forth - like Nan and Pa couldn't hear us. We were so sneaky. I remember going to the store to buy Brachs candies, the kind you go and pick out and fill up a bag of your favorites, for our goodies for the night.
- Pa loved to tease, especially if he got a rise out of you - which he always did with me. He used to love to wipe his whiskers against my cheeks and neck, which would drive me crazy, I hated it. He loved to tease me with that. After he met Cody, he would call him "Corey", just to tease.
- He loved to go on bike rides with us. We'd get up early and ride to McDonald's for breakfast or just go cruise around the park. There were even a few times when he fell off his bike. He didn't care - he just laughed it off and on we would go.
- Pa always came to whatever event we might be participating in - softball, baseball, dance, horse shows, illnesses, surgeries - he was always there.
- Now, don't get me wrong, it wasn't always good times. Contrary to popular belief, we were not perfect children growing up. (I know, hard to believe) Pa only had to punish us once - that's all it took and we learned our lesson. When my cousin Josh and I were maybe around 5 years old or so, we were playing back in Nan and Pa's bedroom. Pa yelled back and asked what we were doing. We told him we were coloring. It wasn't a lie. He just failed to ask what we were coloring on. We had decided that their room needed a little redecorating and took black crayon to their bedroom wall, as high as we could reach. Needless to say, our bums were a little sore after Pa found out.
- I laugh to this day thinking about our last Christmas together. I had come home late from Chicago the night before, (Pa was at the airport, despite the fact that it was 1am) and just had an air mattress in my room. Pa and I were talking about things, school, my wedding, etc. when his little dog Maggie jumped out of his lap, chasing after my cat - then came me and then Pa - like a scene out of a movie, chasing that crazy dog and cat. I know it's one of those things that "you probably had to be there" or maybe it's just a memory that I have. I don't care. I giggle every time I think about it.
- I loved the fact that, no matter what age we were at, Pa would always reach out and pull us into his lap for a big hug. That's my last memory of him. Cody and I were leaving to see some of his family on that Christmas day and Pa pulled me into his lap for a big hug. How thankful I am for that last hug . . .