Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pappy George

Today would have been my father-in-law's 90th birthday.  He always told us he would live to be 100 -- he lied! I don't think there's a day goes by but that I don't miss him.  To say that our relationship had a rocky start would be an understatement.  But over the years, it grew into something special.  Although my mother-in-law often called him "Heathen George", he not only lived a Christian life, but taught the rest of us by example.   One year on Veteran's Day (before Black Friday came to be), Rod and I were going Christmas shopping at a mall near his grandmother's town.  Rod's aunts lived close by, and Aunt Mo's husband was laid off.  Before we left, Pap kept bringing bags of groceries out for us to pack into the car.  It was everything Mo needed for a Thanksgiving dinner.  When I asked Rod why his parents were doing this, he replied because they can.  This picture was taken when daughter Mary was little.  I don't ever remember Pap having more hair than this.

I swear that he did things deliberately to make Dee angry.  How many times when she would rant and call him "old fool", he would stand and repeat "yes dear" over and over, while smiling and winking at me.  He was a teaser, no one was safe.  My mom was fanatical about her hair -- Pap would muss it nearly every time he could.  One day when he was teasing Dee as she was sweeping the kitchen, she started to rap him gently on "his old bald head" with the broom handle.  He snatched that broom out of her hand, turned it around, and said, "Use this end . . . it's softer".  And then he took off running, in Pap's special of running.

 But his family was the most important thing in his life.  He loved when all the kids and grandkids were all at the house.  And the grandkids could get away with just about anything as long as they weren't hurting anyone. How many times I heard Rod, his brother and sisters comment that "he'd never have let us get away with that"!

One night when we were eating dinner and Pap wasn't wearing his teeth, my niece Becky wanted to know why Pappy chewed like Popeye.  Everyone laughed, including Pap.  He spent the next few months perfecting his Popeye look and laugh.  I can still hear him going, "Arg,arg,arg".

This photo was taken at their 50th anniversary party. He had aged considerably, and his health was failing. He died too soon after this was taken.  His greatest accomplishment, in my opinion, was my husband.  Pappy taught by example, as I said before.  And he taught my husband to be a good son to my parents, a good husband to me, a good father to my children, a good uncle to his nieces and nephews, and a good "Pappy" to his grandkids.

Happy Birthday, Pap and thank you for showing me what love, dedication, faith, and family was all about.


Pat said...

What a beautiful post!!!

Kristin Marie said...

I agree, this is a wonderful post! It makes me appreciate the special people in my life even more.