I have been very busy and not in the mindset to find the light side of life. A few days after my last post our wonderful Pops past away. You guys might remember me mentioning him a few times. Hillbilly definition redefined the one that comes to mind first.
The man was almost indescribable. He did one thing I never thanked him for but teased him about constantly. He raised my husband to be the wonderful man he is. He didn't have to you see, he met Honeybear when he was two. And while it was unspoken he was the one who was a true father to him. He taught my husband to work, hunt, fish, and what real men should be. He never spoke ill of the absent man he replaced. When Honeybear would be stood up he would never say a word just come hand him his baseball glove or start loading the fishing equipment. And while Honeybear might not bear much of a physical appearance to him, anyone who knew them both knew they were father and son the mannerisms were identical.
He was a man of many hats. Drummer in a country band (much to his chagrin as he hated country but he loved music), chicken catcher, rich man, poor man, outdoorsman, music aficionado, father, husband, son, friend, listener, and wise man. The first one on my husband's side to show me unconditional love and acceptance. An amazing granddad to our children. One of my favorite people in all the world.
The first prominent memory I have is of calling him Pops for the first time. I didn't know what to call him in my defense. Honeybear didn't call him anything. And ma called him hun. I forgot his name and couldn't think of anything else to say when I was trying to get his attention. He stopped mid stride and looked at me. That was it...the beginning of the end. He was from then Pops. My one regret is his dad was called Granddad and he wanted the kids to call him that too. But thanks to me they never got the hang of it.
He was an oddity to say the least. Looking at the scruffy man in cargo camo pants and old flannel shirt with vest and his crazy jack russel driving around in his old dodge with the Charlton Heston is my president bumper sticker you'd probably judge him to be a crazy old man. (Okay so you'd be right.) But if you stopped to pet Pando and say hi. You'd find a slow talking generous wise man that might just buy you lunch.
The first time we brought Martin up we left for the store and came back to his walker hanging from the porch roof to make him a swing. He would come and drop off fruit and treats for the kids, sometimes knocking, sometimes we'd walk out and find it on the porch. Before his health declined he'd come get them one at a time take them to town for lunch show them off and then take them fishing or to check traps. Every other Christmas we spent with them and Pops would act like a kid himself.
He was a man of few words, more so as his hearing got worse. But bring up one of his favorite subjects such as music, hunting, fishing, or grandbabies and he would talk to you forever. Many hours him and I sat and talked music. He introduced me to the Nace Brothers, and I actually got him to listen to Nickelback. And one time Zac Brown's Sic 'Em on a Chicken. He loved chicken songs his dad was a chicken catcher and Pops and Honeybear would do it with him every time they went to visit.
He seemed to doubt his role with us and I hope we changed that before he passed. He never was one to say how he felt...more of a nodder. When we first told him I was pregnant we gave him a cigar. After we left he told ma he probably wouldn't know the kid. (We lived a few hours away and couldn't get up much with both work schedules then.) Even when he doubted us he put that cigar away and it still was in a prominent place in his gun room along with pics of Honeybear through the years, and the father's day presents we had given him.
When Honeybear went to get something out of his truck for ma he found last years father's day card that he kept with him. Everywhere we went looking for this or that we found mementos of his love. Next to his chair in the garage...photo envelopes full of the kids pictures. His wallet (somewhere ma and Honeybear dare never touch before) pics of Ma when they first met and Honeybear's freshman picture. His desk...father's day cards and a special present for ma.
Sounds perfect right? Not really. He would purposely aggravate Ma.Make fun of me every chance he got. Let the kids watch Jaws one night on a sleepover. Bought my daughter spiderman shoe's cause that's what she wanted. And gave our kids way to many moon pies and suckers. Refused to let Honeybear fix things the last couple of years insisting he'd have a good day and get to it. And told us more times than we could count we were making bad choices. (He later came to love a few of those bad choices but wasn't to happy when we told him another was on the way.) He's been to two (out of 6) houses of ours and even in helping us get this house never saw it before he passed. He yelled at Honeybear, me, and the kids for no reason a few times. And let his jack russel pup Pearl run wild after Pando passed six months ago. He also refused to listen to doctors and cared more about his beagles than he did himself. He was aggravating as all get out this last year at times and I wanted to shake him. But I would give just about anything to be able to talk to him one more time and tell him how much he really meant to each and every one of us.