Seventy-six years ago today, a really great thing happened. The Man's father was born.
He was well known in our parts. Haven't heard of him? Let me introduce you.
Funny, engaging, and a booming laugh that could break the toughest curmudgeon. He faced the world with his head up and arms swinging. Master of the bear hug. User of corny jokes and phrases. Gentleman to the core.
He was a gifted teacher. He could connect with students in an honest and approachable way. He especially enjoyed working with those challenging kids---the ones who were at risk of never making it through high school. Throughout his 32 years of teaching, students returned to thank him for helping them through.
Collector. Of everything. Better hope you weren't on the other side of the bargaining table because it's a sure bet you'd walk away scratching your head and wondering just why you sold something for so cheap.
Lover of life. Lover of God. Lover of family.
He cherished his role as a father, handing down guidance and love to his two sons and daughter. He was never more proud than when he talked about his children.
And he was a beloved husband for over 50 years. Tender, kind, and dedicated.
One year ago yesterday, The Man's family gathered together, feeling the gaping hole of his passing. Alzheimer's took him away from us. It was a slow departure, but the finality of his death was still shocking.
He died the day before his 75th birthday.
His legacy continues through this sons, who now pass on those lessons and love to their children. The Man repeats the same corny jokes he heard as a boy. And he's mastered the art of bear hugs as well. He so reminds me of his father.
In these ways and more, R., you are still here.
But never doubt that you are most painfully missed.
Goodbye to Grandpa