Whether you called him Fred, FJ, Uncle Sonny, Dad, Papa or even Great Papa we all knew him as a great man that was the life of the party, who could hold your attention with his smile, his laugh or his stories! You could here him yell " Hey Doll remember when ...." and she would laugh and say "Oh FJ stop it ... that didn't happen like that!" And they would both be laughing before they could even finish telling the story! Just like Aunt Doll he never missed a good party or a chance to get on the dance floor! He was game to do anything or go anywhere all you had to do was ask!
Growing up Papa had this big house over in Oldsmar, Florida it sat on 3 lots and was the supreme house for parties! Block parties, birthday parties, graduations, holiday cook outs, reunion's ~ you name it he has hosted it! The entire town and family near and far would show up, everyone bringing something to eat or drink the men would all be lined up at the grills, his buddies would sing and do the polka dance while the kids all played in the yard. We had enough food to feed a small army, which I guess is what we were. There wasn't a person in all of that town that didn't know Papa and to know him was to love him.
There was this huge tree out back that we would climb up in and grab the rope swing to fly down like Tarzan! We would race up the stairs to play in the hidden closets in this great big house, going from room to room to play hide an seek, jump from the top of the stairs to the bottom. The house was always filled with love and laughter I cant recall a time that Papa ever raised his voice or got mad or even yell at all us kids to knock it off like most would have done! Does that mean we were all exceptionally well behaved kids? I guess that is possible.....highly unlikely thou, I think he was just an exceptional man who knew we were just kids being kids and that was good enough excuse for our behavior as any! I guess I need to remember that lesson in my own life.
I know we will survive as a family, I know we will move forward and move on. They taught us to be strong, independent, honest, to be loving and caring and to make everyday count. But I also know that things will never be the seem again, not with both Aunt Doll and Papa gone. Our hearts will still ache but I know they would want us not to be consumed with sadness, but to cherish the here ~ the now and to celebrate the life they had with the people they loved. They would want us to continue sharing stories because that's how you keep the memories alive, and we all have plenty of stories to tell! I know that old traditions we had as a family will now have to be new traditions made without them.
|Papa and Aunt Doll |
The Best of Friends
PC was so sweet and so helpful with his Great Papa, at the last family wedding we went to, he held him up as he was unsteady on his feet when he walks, got him his glass of wine ( which didn't help he be any more steady on his feet)! He sat and they chatted, he went and got them each dessert and helped load him into Aunt Wendy's car. After we waved good by PC turned to me and say " We have a great family mom, and I really love Great Papa", I looked over at him and smiled (as I cant say I looked down on him since he is taller than me) and said "Yes buddy, that we do".
I know they always say that God has a plan......that plan does not always match up with our plans............ because we didn't plan on Papa joining for happy hour quite so soon in the great blue sky! They better watch out up there ~ the party is just about to get started now that he has arrived!