My Papaw is...
-the sunshine on ripe tomatoes and the itchy fuzz on okra.
-the glint of a crooked front tooth in a rare smile.
-the hush of a prayer from the end of the row, 2 rows from the back.
-the shake of a terrifying finger to a squealing girl whose ribs needed counting.
-the comfort of a cracked black naugahyde recliner with a beach towel over the back.
-the temperance of raisin bran on a Sunday morning.
-the secret of Brylcreem in the bathroom and Afrin in the bedroom window.
-the creak of an old green yard swing.
-the smack of an after-dinner toothpick.
-the bite, strong and unmistakable, of ribbon cane in a big gold can.
-the scuff of black vinyl slippers by the back door, with the heels folded in.
-the odd frosty smell of squirrels in the deep freeze.
-the crinkle of a red vinyl suit and fuzzy white beard.
-the swing of long arms, palms turned back.
-the damp of khaki coveralls and a straw hat.
-the shimmer of opalescent fish scales clinging to plywood and strong arms.
-the security of a Stearns in an old green fishing boat.
-the sinking feeling in your gut when a tornado looms.
-the buzz of wisteria in the spring and pink azaleas in Easter pictures.
-the frustration of a small child on Christmas morning.
-the bitter cold of memories of Europe.
-the blare of LSU over kitchen clatter.
-the bark of small dogs who were never pets.
-the crunch of hot french fries pulled out of a greasy paper bag on the stove.
He is strength, temperance, patience, and steady, often unspoken love. He is stability, predictability, and perseverance. He is a lack of folly with a hearty laugh. He is a formidable memory, even as he fades.
He is not confusion, weakness, hopelessness and fear. He is not vulnerability, neediness, and frailty. I will never remember him for the last, passing things he was, the leftovers, the things that remain. I will remember him for the real true person he was, the Papaw of my childhood, when our roles were in proper order, and he was not waiting.
Dearest Pap, may your wait continue to be filled with the joy of your greatest accomplishment: the family who treasures you.