My Papa (pronounced “PAH-paw”) passed away while I was in college. I have some very vivid memories of him. None of them bad. I’m certainly not saying he was the perfect man. I am saying that I can’t think of a single unpleasant memory of my Papa.
He let me drive the tractor.
He let me drink his beer.
He let me help him dig potatoes.
He could blow his nose without a tissue or handkerchief. Just let it fly! This was truly impressive to me. It wasn’t, however, nearly as impressive to my mom when I tried it at home. Possibly because I was indoors at the time, but I can’t be sure.
He let me beat him at Checkers. (I thought I was just that good.)
It seems like he always had time for me.
I always loved the times I got to spend the night at Papa’s house. After spending the day exploring his farm and the woods behind it, or “helping” with some chores, I have memories of sitting in front of the fire in their little farm house and eating popcorn out of a huge bowl. I can still feel what it was like to climb up the steep steps to go to bed in the big feather bed. Well, it seemed big to me at the time.
When I’m with my grandkids I often think about what they will remember about me after they’ve grown. I find that I intentionally say and do things in the hope that it will be a memory they will hold dearly long after I’m gone. I suppose that’s silly in a way, because I know they will end up with lifetime memories of things that I likely will have forgotten by next week.
I wonder why we don’t think like this with our own kids.
Maybe we should.
I wish I had.