Who We Are
How We Can Help
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Who We Are
How We Can Help
First and foremost, I attempt to describe his colorful personality to children who have only experienced shades of grey in comparison. The overused, blasé impression, “He was the action! He was the party! Everywhere he went the party went with him!” provides a menial description of Dad’s true persona. Normal, outgoing individuals may be described in such manner, but not my dad! Emphasizing, “He was a brazen, outgoing, witty, larger than life, man,” still does not adequately provide the necessary imagery of his larger thanks life demeanor. Somehow he possessed an energy and magnetism that would make Hollywood stars jealous. Case in point, he made an everyday trip to the dullest place ever exciting. Normally, the dreaded chore of going to the bank is just a checkmark on a “To Do list,” but not with Dad. Every place, even the bank, was social hour. Most called him by name. The ones who did not know him, would get to know him before leaving the building. For some reason, everyone needed to say, “Hello.” Observers watched a cyclone of charm as Dad entered the building. The high volumes of laughter and chatter only momentarily, alarmed loan officers. They knew the sound of his voice and the echos of his laughter. No questions needed to be asked. No reprimands were required. Business continued as usual. The commotion was not a big deal; the ruckus was merely my Dad filling the building with presence. The whirlwind always started with his unforgettable, unavoidable, loud entrance. His undeniably strong physique accompanied with a smile the size of Texas only added to his attractiveness. As he opened the door, he boisterously proclaimed his arrival with his notorious thirty second long salutation, “Heeyyy!” As if the noise did not warrant enough attention, he proceeded to hug everyone within arm’s reach. Uncomfortable squirming only meant the person needed a longer embrace. Without discrimination, he hugged every man, woman, child, or stranger with his all encompassing, super strong, mega powerful bear hug. Many said his hugs were his way of reminding everyone of his physical strength. With the exception of his daughters’ possible boyfriends, I wholeheartedly disagree. Albeit, he was tough. He was quite strong, and he had many scars that proved he never quit or backed down. However, the true power in his hugs laid in their ability to make life stop, even if only for a moment. His all-encompassing stronghold provided solace, peace, and love. He hugged with his whole heart because he needed a heartfelt hug in return. Maybe this is the perception only a daughter can have, but it is my opinion nonetheless.
Reminiscing really makes me miss life that should be. What would my children love the most about him? Would it be his comforting hugs that eased fears and wiped away tears, or would it be a quality I would only witness during their interaction? I wish I could watch how a tiny hand wrapped around his big finger would have melted his heart! Oh how I wish my children could experience everyday life on the farm. Simple tractor rides would have molded unreal relationships and unforgettable stories. How much would he have loved watching his only granddaughter grow into a feisty, young woman? How much would he have loved watching his grandson become a man of God? How much would he have loved watching the every day moments of learning to walk, learning to ride a bike, learning to read,…? I can only wonder if such experiences would have been enough to heal his broken heart.
My most missed “should have been” for BN is horseback riding; I so wish Dad could have taken my daughter, BN. Her father would have been a nervous wreck, worried sick watching his only baby girl mount a huge, fast animal with a mind of it’s own. BN, fearless to a fault, would have insisted the only cadence be full speed. Run, Grandaddy! Run!” She would have started riding in his saddle, sitting in front of him, trying to wrap her tiny arms around his oversized forearms while kicking the saddle with her tiny legs and clicking her mouth in hopes the horse would move faster and faster. When her own attempts failed to stimulate the horse, the next choice would have been begging the man leading the horse by yelling “Faster Grandaddy! Faster!” Unable to resist the request and ever so happy to please his only granddaughter, with a small, swift kick to the horse and a “Giddy up!” away they’d go leaving only the sound of BN’s giggles in their wake. The precious giggles heard from the same saddle would have grown into joyous laughter from her own horse on her own saddle. The Trail rides would have provided an opportunity for the two of them to share a close bond created by hours of endless trail rides enjoying the beautiful landscape and discussing whatever BN desired. Who knows, the experience may have lead to lifetime of horseback riding or it may have inspired a career involving horses. No one will ever know. Instead, as a lame substitute, BN and I will take a slow, trail ride on a rented horse. A horse so bored with the journey, the walk will feel more like an Amish carriage ride.
While she will never know what she is missing, I do! Since horseback riding was one of my favorite past times with Dad, it is easy for me to imagine what BN might have experience. God only knows the many experiences Dad would have provided for my thrill-seeking, dare devil! BN loves to have fun just as much as he did! She is adventurous, creative, and quite persuasive, so I’m sure she would have concocted her own ideas of fun, daring things for the two to try. BN would have batted her gorgeous, green eyes, pouted her lower lip, and stretched her tiny arms around his giant neck begging, “Please Grandaddy. I love you! Please, can we?” Knowing he didn’t have a chance, he would have responded the only way a grandfather should, “Yes, BN whatever you want.” At some point, he would have realized she is like him in so many ways.
My son, RM, is more like his father and quite the opposite to his grandfather. RM is a super-sensitive, rule-following, mega-loving, big hugging, thinker. He likes to process all information, make sure everyone is included, and understand all the rules before getting involved. In other words, the spontaneity and reckless abandon that defined my dad would not have been a commonalty between Dad and his grandson! RM would have been confused about how low-key, no contact interactions such as practicing football routes, hitting baseballs, or playing catch could have turned into a complete physical competition. RM would have wondered how tackling happens in baseball and basketball; he would have questioned how every sport had football rules. However, RM would have most likely embraced the challenge of defeating Dad no matter the rules. He would have respected his grandfather’s age while trying to add toughness and contact to every sport!
One sport that may have been a challenge for RM to enjoy with Dad would have been golf. I can imagine Dad would have used his thirty year old lady’s clubs, worn his dingy, white baseball cleats from the 70s to play his yearly round of golf with his grandson. With complete disregard to golf etiquette, Dad would have hit mulligan after mulligan, hunted for all lost balls, and sung rather loudly all day. He might have even driven on the greens for his convenience. Embarrassed beyond belief, RM would have complained about the experience, which would have only added fuel to Dad’s actions. Embarrassing actions, in Dad’s mind, could always reach new levels. While ONE golf outing may have been RM’s limit, I’m sure it would have been the most memorable golf trip in his life.
In addition to sports, RM also loves adventure and speed! So, I am certain one of RM’s favorite hobbies would have been boating and jet skiing with his grandfather. Being the coachable child he is, RM would have intently listened to all instructions Dad provided while specifically learning how to catch and ride the ultimate wave on a jet ski. He would have mastered the art of throttling at the correct moment to create high jumps while also still enjoying speed. The newfound driving skill would have provided not only enjoyment and fun, but a way to “show off” for the girls. Dad, knowing catching their attention is only a portion of the battle, would have also helped RM gain the confidence and courage he needed to approach people he does not know. Knowing fun adventure awaited with only one phone call, RM would have regularly begged Dad for boat rides and fun days at the farm. Painfully, RM will never know the luxury of calling his grandfather to have a fun day.
Having fun and creating laughter are not the only qualities BN and RM are missing. Dad loved Jesus. He enjoyed reading the Bible, discussing the Bible, and trying to live by the Bible. At RM’s young age of five, he claims his love for Jesus. He is excited to memorize Bible verses and recites the Lord’s Prayer. One day, it’s is my prayer that both children will find Jesus; both children will know Jesus. Dad would have been a great resource to help lead them. Many people claim my dad was a big reason they found Christ. I only wish my children could see his example; I only wish he could help lead my children to Christ. What joy is greater than helping grandchildren know and love Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, yet again, this is only a dream that will never result in seeing his tears of joy, hearing his noisy sniffles, or feeling his sweet embrace. The hole left from Dad’s suicide is best described as the largest, most destructive, irreparable sinkhole in history. It was highly unpredictable and catastrophic to many people. It left unspeakable damage that will last for generations to come. He should have lived to be a grandparent to six grandchildren. He should have created lasting impressions on all of his grandchildren, who would have shared the memories with their children, his grandchildren’s children. Generations, yes plural, are missing memories and the imprint Dad’s life could have made. BN and RM, along with their cousins, will never have a memory of this grandfather. They will never share quotes or adventures of their grandfather with their children. While I try to share memories, my words fail to paint the gorgeous relationship that should have been. If only BN and RM could have one day with him, they might understand what a great man he was!
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