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Friday, July 25, 2008

Friends and Family Friday--Papa Joe

OK--well I never said they had to be living, did I? Today's honoree is my Papa Joe, aka PJ, Grandpa. This picture was taken last Christmas--the last time I saw him. He passed away in March and, man, he has been on my mind this week. I've been dreaming about him and everything. So--this is his week.

1. As a child, Papa Joe was this big old man who would make funny faces at me, pop out his two bottom teeth when no one else was looking, laugh a lot, say a lot of bad words, and do a lot of work (build things, fix things, etc). My childhood memories of him are as a man full of life and that never changed. I was in awe of his curse words--his favorite was "Goddammit!!" said in only the way he could and it got to be a big family joke.

2. Even as a child, I knew he loved to joke, and I had several ongoing jokes that I pulled on him. One was telling Grandma "let's lock him in the wellhouse!" and I thought I was so funny, and it was such a conspiracy to get him. The other was pinching his bottom. This was our thing. I especially liked to do it in front of the church, for some reason. He would always jump, and usually say "Goddammit Camily!" Hee hee hee. But I knew he loved it.

3. I have so many memories of family trips to the lake--on boats he built or bought. We would have so much fun--laughing all day, playing, just having a great time. Oh my gosh--wonderful memories.

4. We played LOTS of games. Family Fued and Uno were favorites. In Family Fued, no matter whose team he was on, he could never stop himself from blurting out the answers when he knew them. Everyone would laugh and be irritated at the same time. In Uno, he always had sayings for cards, like "Eighter from Decatur," or for if he would pass, he would say "Passie Gassie from your a - -ie." Always something.

5. POLITICALLY INCORRECT is an understatement. I can't emphasize that enough. There were many times it embarrassed me--but many times it did not.

6. As you can see in the picture, he was a Marine. He took so much pride in being a Marine and in his country. He flew the flag in front of his house on a flag pole that he built. He risked his life for his country in the war and for what he believed in. Those values never changed. I think that where I learned such pride for my country and gratitude for our military. And why I believe it is so important to honor and defend our country. I remember one time we were out somewhere, and someone saw his marine cap. They said "Oh, you were a marine?" I'll never forget his reply: Son, I AM a RETIRED Marine. When he died, I wasn't all that emotional--even at the funeral parlor, until I looked over and saw his Marine cap sitting in the middle of all the flowers.

7. As I grew up, our relationship changed. It became more grown-up. He came to visit me several times when I went to college and after. He'd bring his Jack Daniels and tell jokes. We'd laugh, of course. He'd come to go to the Cowboys games and fit right in with my friends.

8. He could never keep a secret--big or small. He'd spill it. On accident or on purpose--it would always come out. Always.

9. He was not perfect. No where near. But he had an incredible zest for life and loved his family. There was nothing he would not do for us if asked. He was full of love.

10. He loved Matthew and only got to see Molly once. He would love her now. I'm sure he'd make her squeal and say she was just like me--a squealer. When I was a baby, apparently I was happy and content until he picked me up and then I'd scream and scream. He called me The Squealer. He also called me Cammie in his unmistakeable voice. I cherish my memories of him and miss him. He was quite a man in so many ways. Love you, Grandpa.

Love you, friends!

2 people had nice things to say:

gorgeous said...

A tribute to a fine man, my father and your grandfather and Matthew and Molly's great grandfather. He was a man of gusto, loved Jack Daniels whiskey and you are so right - he loved his country, his family and his right to say "god damnit" anytime and any place he chose!

Thanks for this momento of Papa Joe!
judith irene

Andrea "The H family" said...

Wow..what a man! I love, love that he lived life and laughed and carried great pride for our country. I laughed at the 'saying' out loud a few times. I swear...why can't we be so free in public! GD CAMILY!!
SO funny. Great post girl.