The past is just a memory. The future is unforseeable. All we have is right here, right now.
This very moment.
I’m hearing stories of my father-in-law.
Of how he grew up with a twin sister and they were the second youngest of 17 kids.
Of how his first job working at gas station, he made $25 a week and would give most of it away to kids for new shoes, or to go to the circus, or for fries and drink, or to go to the movies.
Of how much he loved kids, particularly his grandkids. He would walk for hours to get a granddaughter to sleep when her father just couldn’t do it. He always had a joke or would act a clown to make them laugh. He would pass them his spare change. He always had a treat for them.
Of how he knew so many people and touched so many lives in big ways and small. Whether through an act of kindness, the giving of a nickname, or just talking their ears off, he was an influence far and wide.
Of his use of the English language. There were no swear words in his vocabulary, though he swore enough to make a sailor blush. To him they were just verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.
Of his days working as a welder. I’m told that whatever job he was on he was always one of the best. Though that doesn’t surprise me because he always took pride in his work.
Of how he loved company. He truly believed the more the merrier. He’d invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to arrive with their friend’s friends. Then he would start up the BBQ and feed you.
Of how some animals liked his home better than their owners’ home so they’d come live with him instead. He adopted stray cats. He adopted a bearded dragon that couldn’t travel with his granddaughter.
Of how he would bail kids out of trouble. He would give them a place to sleep when they were tired. He would feed them when they were hungry.
Of how much he gave. His money. His time. His tools. His Jeep. A listening ear or an earful. His home.
He gave me his greatest treasure… His daughter and his family. For that I’m forever grateful.
His memorial service was Saturday. There was food and a few swear words, the place was packed, memories shared and laughter rang through the tears.