March 10, 2012.
one year ago, Dad, Granddad, Pops, Sam died at the long old age of 90.
there are bad memories of that time between when his body no longer worked and when his journey here ended.
they are fading with time.
and today i’m choosing to remember him smiling.
His plane wrecked in training. Unconscious for many hours, he was never allowed to fly and given a desk job during the war. Not until I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand did I realize what a common occurence it was; pilot trainees died in crashes all the time.
Yes, he was known to mug for the camera, especially if the photographer was someone he loved. Mom is in the boat with him snapping the photos; there are several of these “rowing the boat” pictures. They must have had fun on Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos where they went for their honeymoon.
It was the early sixties and they went out on the town, color co-ordinated on New Year’s Eve.
Golf always made him smile. He had trophies. He taught his wife and his daughters how to play (or tried to…) and shot his age when he was 82, and 84, and 85 and… He played once the summer he was 89, but could only manage 3 holes. He said he didn’t want to live if he couldn’t play golf.
Years have gone by, daughters raised up, and grandchildren made him smile (probably more than his daughters ever did). That’s the way of grandchildren…
Donna did everyone’s hair for Nancy and Ron’s wedding, including Dad’s. It had been a crazy, emotional weekend with Pa dying just the day before. Everyone was missing Mom as well, though Aunt Ruth stood in for her with grace and class. We were all ready to laugh and cry.
Yes, everyone is smiling here; especially Daniel in the background. And this picture still does the trick — makes me smile every time.
Dad and his newest son-in-law enjoy the ferry to Ocracoke Island. He was always a traveler, and he could remember the name and route number of every road he’d ever traveled.
Sister Ruth could always make him smile. What a wonderful time we all had this weekend as the family gathered to celebrate life in the house where we all grew up. Grandchildren came for miles and we all took our favorite treasures before the house was sold. The last of many summer picnics on R.D.#5.
Yep, grandchildren always made him smile. Well…almost always. As long as they were using their dinner utensils correctly. The girls always knew how to use their forks and spoons; Casey and Daniel, not so much…
…and he finally got to have his oldest daughter married in a church wedding.
Lots of us showed up for his 89th birthday party and had the weekend on the town in Pittsburgh — the Ducky tour, the Crab Shack, the inclines, Mt. Washington, Oakmont Bakery, and carrot cake.
The whole clan surrounded Dad as we had a ninetieth birthday party for him over Labor Day weekend here at Apple Hill. Friends and relatives came long distances to celebrate his life.
We picked this picture for his obituary, and one of his friends wrote us a note-to-make-us-cry saying how glad she was that we picked that photo. “You know,” she wrote, “he just had a wonderful smile, and I’ll always remember him smiling.”
and that’s what i’m remembering today… See ya later, alligator.
the regular Apple Hill Cottage posts will be back next week. This one just had to be written today…