There’s a house that feels like heaven that’s half empty since Saturday night.
It’s still aglow with sunset warmth and red dirt wander. But it’s missing my Papa who roosted in the lounge chair tucked in a corner of his deer head covered room. Firearms and pocket knives might’ve scared off wary intruders, but tins full of holiday popcorn and tales of lakeside adventure lured in curious little girls.
“Sit in here, Tracer, and tell me how you’ve been.” The invitation started before I was old enough to remember. Sometimes we’d sit in opposite reclining chairs. Sometimes I’d bounce up in his lap.
Sometimes he’d take me out back to pull start a three-wheeler for my riding pleasure. Sometimes he’d walk the long road to rescue a stalled three-wheeler on the other side of the railroad tracks.
Sometimes he’d show me how to pump water from a deep ground windmill well. Sometimes he’d let me beat him in a game of driveway basketball. Sometimes he’d watch me ride the front yard poultry. Sometime he’d crank up the kitchen jukebox to get the girls dancing. Sometimes he’d tie the tree swing up tight and give me a push to send me flying high over the propane tank.
But he’d always tell a story…
-He knew how to decipher who could speak English by naming the color of their shoes.
-He knew how to hunt and knew how to shoot.
-He knew how he liked his coffee and exactly when he wanted it.
-He knew how to sport overalls.
-He knew how to pick a woman who’d serve him well for life.
-He knew how to make a two-year-old giggle by pointing a wrinkled finger into bright eyes to announce, “You’re full of beans!”
-Mostly he knew how to love four girls who weren’t “his,” and the grandchildren they gave him.
Sometimes in life you get something you weren’t supposed to get. And you ask God why. Like a baby with half of her heart missing.
But sometimes in life you get something you weren’t supposed to get. And instead of asking God why, you just tell Him thank you. Like a Papa who you didn’t share DNA with but who loved you like you did.