Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Out of the blue

Sometimes, something will come along from out of the blue and hit you so hard in the figurative gut that it takes your breath away.  The picture on the left did just that to me this evening.  It is an old photo, worn and bent from time.  In the photo are three people who mean the world to me.

The first person my eyes landed on in this picture is my wonderful nephew, Jordon.  I look at him now, over twenty years later, and I am amazed he was ever that small.  He is a big, big fella these days...over six feet tall and about 275 pounds.  There's a lot to love both literally and figuratively speaking.  As big a man as he has become in stature, he has an equally big heart.  He will rescue most any animal in need, including possums (yuck!).  He gives bear hugs like no one else I know.  He has a quick humor and loves to laugh.  Plus, Jordon is so handsome, not that I'm prejudiced or anything.

My nephew is sitting on the shoulders of his dad, my brother Matt.  Mind you, again I may be prejudiced, but my brother Matt is first class big brother and a really good dad.  When Mom went back to work, Matt became our surrogate parent.  With both parents working and our oldest brother in college, Matt took care of the three younger kids in the family.  He was a Mr. Mom like no other.  We did our chores.  We did our homework.  We did what we were told because being in trouble with him was almost as bad as being in trouble with our parents.  He is a handsome man with a kind and generous spirit, but a whole lot of bad temper if you push him too far.  Trust me...myself and my younger siblings, we pushed.

He brought a great deal of fun into my childhood too.  I can remember one night, stringing tiny Christmas lights all around the living room.  I dressed up my ten year old little sister like a Barbie doll: teased hair; makeup; a fancy dress fashioned from a bed sheet and a pair of heels a thousand times too big.  Matt dressed up in his best dress pants with a beautiful dress shirt and vest.  He hung a gold chain around his neck.  He spit shined his black leather loafers.  When they were all decked out, we turned on the twinkle lights and magically the living room of our old farmhouse became a disco (hey, it was like 1980 or so).  I spun the platters, if you will...the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and a whole lot of 45's, lol.  We had an absolute blast.

Matt is also the first person to 'let' me smoke, but we won't go there.  Let's just say it involved a bit of sisterly blackmail (I'm telling MOM!!).  He doesn't smoke except when he drinks, and that's not often anymore.  I still smoke...

The figure in the picture that made my heart stop is the one in the blue t-shirt.  It's my daddy.  I know you can't see his face.

Some of you already know Daddy doesn't live in this world anymore.  He has been gone for a little over two years.  I miss him so much that sometimes my heart feels like it could explode right in my chest.  There is so much about my life that has changed recently that I want to share with him, and I can't...not directly at least.  I know he sees what's going on, and I know he is proud of me.  But to be able to hear his voice again, to have him tell me he is proud of me one more time, I think I would give nearly anything.

Daddy was a larger than life figure to me.  He was Daddy, after all.  He wasn't a tall man, about five nine, five ten, but to me he was a giant.  He wasn't perfect either.  He could be as temperamental as mule and just as loud.  He had this look he gave when we did something we shouldn't have that could stop your blood right in the vein.  BUT...

My daddy was a man with a heart of gold, encased in platinum.  Just having him as my daddy made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  He had tremendously big arms, built by back breaking work in the hot sun when he wasn't at his drawing board as a mechanical engineer.  He worked hard at two or three different jobs at a time to keep us fed and clothed.

I remember one night, some friends of my parents were visiting.  The man and my dad got to comparing biceps.  Of course, the man insisted his upper arms were bigger than Daddy's.  Mom got out a tape measure.  After the measuring was done, it was discovered that not only were my dad's arms bigger but they were significantly bigger.  When Hulk Hogan use to brag about his 22 inch pythons, I would giggle to myself and think "My daddy's arms are bigger than Hulk Hogans!"  Daddy's arms measured 25 inches around.  He had the broad shoulders and chest to go along with them.  He could have a kid hanging off of each arm and think nothing of walking around the house like no one was there.  When Daddy hugged you, you knew you were hugged.

He wasn't perfect as a person, but he was a perfect Daddy.

Old photographs can be a fantastic walk down Memory Lane, and sometimes that walk is a little painful.  Modern technology allows for pics to be shot and shared so quickly that they seem to have lost something.  I love receiving pictures from my friends but it is a treat to take out the boxes or albums full of my family history, to remember the people that I love and have lost along the way to where I am now.  I find the occasional kick in the 'gut' to be an excruciatingly wonderful thing.  That kick makes me remember who I was, and who I have become over the years.

I think Daddy would be proud.  I already know my big brother and my nephew are.



  1. Hi its me, iamroyalt35, aka Tonya. I read this entry & I was touched. What I appreciated was how descriptive you were which made me picture every detail in my mind, especially when you talked about your dad (may God rest his soul). Thank you for sharing!

  2. Judy, this was the best post you have blogged so far! I mean all of them are great but you do have a way with words and as Tonya said, how descriptive you were made us almost be there too. Memories are great things...good ones and bad ones. It's not at all a bad thing to walk down memory lane, there you will find answers to many things sometimes. Love ya!

    1. Thanks Lisa! Memory Lane is a rough but beautiful road to drive. It can break and mend your heart all in the same trip. With all the changes I have made, I can't help but think Daddy (and all of my grandparents, plus a few others) would be amazed. I've never been much of a project starter, let alone a project finisher.

      I'm not looking for answers from my past, only the reminders of who I once was, and who I don't want to be anymore. I carry my daddy with me always and I know he always wanted something better for me, something more. So I will continue to move forward to find that 'more' I can be. I don't ever want to just settle for how things are, like I have done for so long now. I deserve the best, and I plan on getting it.