Thursday, September 27, 2012


Hey, dear friends! I apologize for my long absence from blog-world.  Our trip back to Texas was a long one full of obstacles, twists, and turns, including a defunct a/c on the U-Haul truck! But we finally made it. We made it back to the vast prairie and big sky. We made it back to our favorite foods, Texas Rangers baseball  on TV every night, and the August heat that seers through your skin. Most of all we made it back to our family and friends.

Upon our arrival my mom and dad met us in our new town and we were lucky enough to spend  time with them looking around and familiarizing ourselves with our new community. The following weekend we were able to go to their house and make them a simple Saturday night dinner of cheese grits and shrimp.

We had a wonderful time of conversation and laughter. It was awesome to do what so many may take for granted...spend quality family time together. Little did we know when we hugged them good-bye it would be the last time we would see my Daddy alive. The following Wednesday afternoon my Dad had a sudden massive stroke and passed away.

Now, five weeks later, I still feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. I feel like everyone can see the giant hole in my heart.

In my previous post I wrote about how bittersweet it was to leave WA for TX. Bittersweet.

Our son used this same expression in his tribute to his grandfather, 
"Over the past few days, while we scrambled to stabilize and grieve, I keep expecting him to offer me something to drink. I would probably say a polite, “No, thank you PaPa” to which he would respond by listing off all the beverages currently available in the fridge, all the beverages in the pantry, and everything he could go get at Wal-mart.

I would respond with a “No, really, I’m fine.” And he would tell me to reconsider and temptatiously tell me he was going to have a glass of half sweet tea and half unsweet tea and he’d be more than happy to make me some. He always liked his tea like that. Not too bitter not too sweet. This gathering is like that tea. It is unavoidably bitter to have lost someone who loved us so much and whom we loved so much, but also this is a sweet celebration his incredible life of Love." 

So this post will simply be a bittersweet tribute to my wonderful Daddy, the original JUNKER, in my life. 

My dad was a child of the Great Depression, the youngest of five children born to cotton share-croppers in a small Oklahoma town. 

He was a strong Christian man who literally prayed for everyone and would happily give you the shirt off his back. He was the only one in his family to earn a university degree. He read to my brothers and I every night no matter how exhausted he was, often laughing so hard at the stories he read that he cried. He never missed a sunrise or sunset or the awe of nature. He sang constantly or played his harmonica. He could recite "Little Danny Donkey" from his third grade play and taught it to all three of us. He also taught us to play dominoes, horse-shoes, and basketball. He never allowed me to "sissy out" of sports and expected me to hold my own against he and my brothers...which I did, most of the time. He made biscuits from scratch and taught me how to also. He told us his childhood stories and they grew in our imaginations so vividly that we thought everyone knew about his hunting adventures with his dog, Popeye, or about how heart-broken he was when he had to sell his prize bull, Midnight.

My Daddy was a great fix-it guy. He used a lot of WD40, duct tape, and prayers...and he fixed, mended, and held together a lot of stuff and a lot of other people's lives. He showed me how you could go to the junk store and put together a perfectly good bicycle. Who cares that it didn't have a banana seat or cool handle bars--it was sturdy and would take me wherever I wanted to go.

My Daddy was my hero in so many ways.

So in tribute to my Daddy, I raise a glass of half sweet/half unsweet tea and hope to always remember everything he taught us: especially to treat others as you want to be treated, work with what you have or create what you need, and always keep your priorities straight. Last, but not least: love God, love your family, and share your laughter with everyone you meet.

Peace, love, and all the good stuff, y'all.