Plunking me on top of the fridge as a child…
he showed me a change of perspective is profound
and a little risk is good.
Racing around on all fours through the house,
his growls drowned out by his little girl’s giggles,
he taught me that having fun
is more important than looking good.
Answering my questions with part of the answer,
then asking me a question back,
he made me think critically,
take ownership of my learning
and experience the success of my own discovery.
Dad always wanted to make it better.
He would visit my home and the first order of business was “What needs fixin’”.
From the best way to roll a garden hose, to what to use on a squeaky door,
he didn’t just want it fixed.
He wanted you to learn how...
just in case…
he wasn’t around…
he’d know you’d be okay.
He needed to share his loves.
Heck, he just needed to share anything and everything that was exciting to him.
And new things popped up every day.
He would “suggest” you read an article in Aviation Weekly.
If you did not read it then and there,
you would elicit a glimmer of dejection and a hint of a pout.
He shared his smoked rib recipe…
along with a new smoker
the correct wood chips
so you could make them right away.
A particularly good Hagar the Horrible comic strip would be passed over to you with a boyish smile
and a chuckle
as he watched in sincere anticipation of your laughter.
Over the years he fed the fish in the lake for a week in advance of a visit
then contently relished the squeals of delight as his grandchildren caught fish after fish.
He loved to share his joy.
He just loved to love.
It shone out of him like a warm reassuring sunbeam.
That's why his mother called him Sunny. Because he was a ray of sunshine.
There is no question that he lives on through me.
His lessons, his loves,
are now my lessons, my loves.
Laughing with my children until we cry,
singing off key at the top of our lungs, making silly faces…
All are Poppy living through us.
I believe he is still here with me now,
and he has a knowing…
a glimpse of something that eluded him in life…
I am safe,
I am protected,
and I carry him with me always.