LESSONS FROM PAPA
It was a magic world I lived in as a boy, stepping onto the boat with Papa was always an adventure. Papa understood me and he always played along with my imagination, he went on my adventures with me. Sometimes he would sit me on his lap and let me steer the boat, with the engine roaring he would whisper in my ear that we were flying. As the wind blew through my hair I would inch my way to the front of the boat. I felt as if I was flying, I would be right up front almost feeling the wind would lift me into the sky. Looking into the water hypnotized me, and then a splash of cold water would hit me bringing me back to reality. Every time I would look at Papa he would be smiling back at me as much as I was smiling at him. When we finally did slow down and throw anchor, he would make our fishing trip magical, telling me of all the fish that lived underneath us, he said there was a magic fish and if I could catch him he would grant me three wishes. He was a gold mackerel. As Papa baited my hook, I would cast my line and sit with anticipation of catching this magic fish. Spraying lemon juice on my head for luck, we would sit and talk about things. As a flock of geese flew over our head, Papa would tell me to look, if it isn't the Bird family of V....'s flying over, that the V stands for well our last name. He told me to really watch them, how they fly together in that v, all going in the same direction. He would say if one falls out of the v that it is harder to fly because the wind that the wings of his brother or sister goose helps him fly. He also wanted me to notice how when the lead goose gets tired they change positions. The brother and sister goose takes turns. And how the goose in the back is always honking keeping them at their speed. Funny thinking that papa was trying to teach me a lesson way back then. I'm thinking about my grandpa tonight as you can see. My last memory of him was him saying Papa? What is a Papa. You are a Papa I told him. Papa has meant many things for me through the years. Papa has always been a big influence in my life. As I've changed and grown so has my appreciation and love for him. I've always worshipped him and loved him for all that he did. As a child I remember him to be powerful and storng. I always felt safe around him. He was "Papa" the most powerful man in the universe. I remember Sherry and I hiding in the closet every Friday night and when he would come home around 11:00 p.m. from work we would jump out and scare him. He acted scared and surprised every time. Later I loved him for helping me so. with the little problems, I thought was big. he had a great sense of humor and always loved a good joke. Then I became a teenager: I still stayed with them most every Friday night. I mowed the yards on Saturday mornings. Hed laugh his hearty laugh at me because he could hear me singing over the lawnmower. He was always measuring me on the walls and was so proud I was tall. I always enjoyed the look on his face when he would do that. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of Papa. The last thing he told me when he knew me was, I had come home to visit, and my Mema was fussing and saying why have you been gone so long, you upset your Papa, he looked at her and said, I'm not upset, I love you Derek, I remember the day you were born and I loved you that day, and have loved you ever since. He didn't say anything else after that, he died shortly after. The hardest for me was the last days I spent with him, when he no longer knew he was a Papa, and he would ask what is a Papa. I always smiled and a tear would come to my eye. I'd grab his hand and say "You are a Papa!"