The Greatest American Hero
When I was a child, you would hold me on your lap and let me eat small pieces of raw turnips you had sliced with your pocket knife.
When I was a little girl, you taught me that ice cream tastes the best when it comes from a brick carton and has been sliced into a bowl. Always Neapolitan and always sliced from the short end.
When I was young girl, you would take me for a ride in the truck while telling me stories of your life, your friends, the war, and how you met my Gammie. Those rides would become my shelter in the storm that was my parent's divorce. You, my rock to cling to when the emotional waters crashed over me. Your stories would become family lore for me to tell and retell. Entrusted in my heart to carry for the next generation.
When I was gawky and uncoordinated, you let me stand on your toes as we danced at the VFW. The King of the USOs held court to his devoted princess. I learned to love the 40's, Buggy-Woogy-Bugle Boys and a larger than life Grandfather who had been a lover and a fighter; just not at the same time.
When I got too big for my britches, you let me know you could knock the taste buds right out of my mouth. Then you would show me just how much you loved me by holding your thumb to your last knuckle when I asked.
When I was hurt and cried, you always had a handkerchief. Your gruff side would become all blustered and you would bristle at whatever was upsetting me. Your bark was always worse than your bite. But you would always hold me and love me until everything was alright again.
When I went into the Marines, I should have listen to you. Once again you proved to know what was best for me. It was the only letter you ever wrote me and I read it so many times that the ink wore off and the paper fell apart. I am so sorry I failed, but I know you loved me in spite of myself.
When I became a woman and life became busy, you waited for me. You waited for me to call, to visit, to write more letters. I should have visited more. I should have written often, called more. Told you ever day that I love you and that you are my Papa. Eventually, your life became full of waiting as well. Waiting to live. Waiting to die. Your mind not knowing what it was waiting for. If it was the life of today or a memory of things long past.
This is our first Father's Day without you here. It's been hard. I love you Papa. I miss you. I can't seem to go on without you, but each day I grow a little stronger. And each day brings me one day closer to when I can be with you again. Until then, I'll Be Seeing You