Papa

Hi, you might remember me as the girl who used to blog here.

Here is something. It might not be much.

I have been thinking about my Papa lately. I have the tendency to do that in tulip season. When he died, someone sent my family a planter of spring bulbs that included delicate little hot pink tulips all edged in white. Tulips are my favorite flowers, but these were especially beautiful. I planted them on our property and eagerly awaited them each year.

My Papa was a farmer. As I was thinking about him the other day, I was thinking about the rural farming community I grew up in and the relationships my peers and I had with our farmer grandfathers. None of us had, to my knowledge, overly gregarious or affectionate grandfathers. Instead words like steady, salt of the earth, and quiet pride come to mind. Not that I view farmers as withdrawn or overly staid, for in varying instances cantankerous, mischievous, adventurous, witty, and ingenious also belong in that list of words. But farming, in its abbreviated, romanticized description, is a solitary career path. Your business partners are God and the weather. The attendees of the morning meetings are dogs, cats, pigs, cows, or whatever variety of barnyard animal might be kept on hand (maybe some corporate workers can relate!). There are hours of alone time logged behind the wheel of a tractor. Farming is not the career path of a social butterfly. Whether farming carves the farmer into a certain kind of person or a certain kind of person becomes a farmer, I know not. I do know that I view my grandpa's role in my family, not so much as a specific personality, but rather as a solid, safe presence.

Other things I think of: Andes Mints. I call them Papa Mints. Every year around the holidays, someone would buy him a package of them. The grand kids would be allowed to eat them. In small quantities. I always stole a few extra. But to this day, I look upon them as some sort of special occasion delicacy and gaze in wonderment at their ready availability in Target and the grocery store. Don't these stores know that they are special? You can not just put them on the shelf with the everyday candy. They should be tucked away, only to be brought out on special occasions and sold in limited quantities.

The roll of the dice. Because of a stroke and limited mobility, Papa had a unique way of rolling dice. A way that seemed to score him infinitely more bunco points than me, winner of the award for most 123s. His palm would be cupped with the dice in it and he would sway his palm from side to side and then allow the dice to ever so gently drop, one at a time, off the side of his palm. Try it next time you are using dice. It's the Papa roll.

Ears. Papa had unique ears. Ears that had a reputation all their own. Not quite Spock ears because the tops of them were more rounded, but close.

Those are few little things about my grandpa. Tell me about yours.