I have my grandpa’s cowboy hat, his cameras, the book he read to me as a little girl. He was a boisterous, jolly architect (who never graduated high school), who loved to fish, played the fiddle, was an elder in the Church of Christ, and escaped as a POW during World War II. Never settling for anything average, Grandpa added color and depth to my life as if I lived in the Wizard of Oz after the house landed on the witch. He believed in family. He believed in laughter. He believed in love. I sure do wish I could hug him now and tell him what is going on in my life. I’m having one of those moments where I realize he would be proud of me and who I have become. The tears magnify the letters on my screen as I know what it feels like to be loved.
My dad often gave me pens as a child because of my love of office supplies. Just like a musical instrument can be a muse, a new pen is my muse. I love to test drive a pen to feel how it performs in my hand and glides across the paper. My dad also gave me determination and project-based thinking, a logical mind, as well as the desire to see things differently. After his dad’s funeral, we took a three-hour drive home and discussed the nature of time. It was the first time I saw him as a philosopher as we bantered back and forth about alternate universes. He took what are called “Daddy shortcuts” where we would take the time from point A to B to see something beautiful. I do this now. Thanks to him, I know how to take my time. Poppa took me on dates as a little girl and I fell in love with this protector who worked full time and went to school full time to take better care of us. He is the kind of person who knows what the weather is going to be. He always carries a pocket knife and is active in his church choir. He was a boy scout troop leader who can start a fire with dryer lint. I can’t believe he is my dad. I’m lucky.
Rob Brown was my mentor and friend. A wicked sense of humor and impeccable timing joined us together along with our love of art, music, and generally messing with people. He said, “I want to change all I’s in the alphabet to U’s,” So we dud. Every sungle one of them was changed un oir dauly conversatuons and emauls. Before he died, he gave me a book of Richard Avedon photography that holds a special place on my bookshelf. He was listening to Desperados Waiting on a Train by Jerry Jeff Walker the entire week before he prematurely passed – so now that song is one that will make me cry no matter what. It summed up what our relationship was – I was his sidekick. That man left the planet way too soon.
I suppose the purpose of this very personal blog post is to convey that I’ve known extraordinary men who have taught me love. I have reminders of that love all around me that hold space for something special.