Pop dug the pool by hand shovel, enlisting the work crews (he owned a factory), the household help's husbands and brothers, my brother; heck, the littlest of us had a pool related chore. Pop taught me that if you want or need something, there is a way to obtain it-with dignity demonstrated by elbow grease and pluck.
He hated credit and said it would lead to the downfall of Western Civilization. Weeell, lads and lassies, just look at us now...
I know that some of the visitors to this blog know me, knew my dad. I'm glad you check in. I want you to understand that I know every bit as well as you that Pop certainly had faults-excuse me, did you miss that I mention Dorothy-so you needn't remind me to not canonize Pop. Trust me, soooo ain't gonna happen.
But you are not going to talk me out of the respect and love I had/have for the man my dad was.
Did you know how damn hard he tried to find Nadine and Danny Joe when they disappeared?
Were you there when he heard Harold and me out unflinchingly the year before he died? Were you?
Did you know that his second to last words were to Danny Joe; or that his last words were to Nadine-about me? I have a message to deliver for my dad-wanna help?
Were you there when he was dying; were you there when he died?
John was. Harold was. I was. Fox was (the way his granddad lived his last years and the way his granddad died made such an impression on little Fox that he STILL amazes me by bringing up something I'd totally forgot, so do not try to denigrate either Pop's memory, or Fox's toddler impressions).
Where in the hell were you-'cause you damn sure were not there!
You probably know that John and I could not stand to be in the same room-but did you know that for our mutal love of Pop we sucked it up and made it through the cremation in total respect and harmony.
Hey, maybe you were at Pop's funeral and saw Harold and Darlene have to struggle to keep me from sending John to be with Pop on the spot if he thought Pop's death such a bloody damn blessing.
Maybe you missed that part-Harold was hissing in my ear not to embarrass Pop by starting a brawl at his funeral, so maybe the struggle was more genteel than I recall it.
And you probably know that John was on FLT 11 on 11th September 2001. Were you there for Marie Elena and the kids? For Arturo? Just asking.
Tomorrow morning it will have five years since that awful attack. I confess freely that while my first thought was how horrible for him and his family, it has taken me until just now to pray that John was greeted by all his loved ones who'd crossed before him-including Pop and Barbara.
Pop did that-taught me to be the sort of person whose first thought on hearing someone she disliked had been killed was sorrow for the man and his family.
Pop taught me to be honest with myself and the world about my motives, my actions-my dad taught me a lot of very good and decent things.
I'm not sure why, as this fifth aniversary of the attacks happens, I am thinking so much about John. I really did not like him at all. He thought I might be taking advantage of Pop, and I thought he was a jerk for not talking with me about it.
All I know for sure really, is that John really loved my dad and he really loved his wife and kids, and I think it is awful that his children grew up to watch their dad's plane smash into the WTC five years ago tomorrow morning.
And while I certainly wish Pop was still alive with me and Fox, because we REALLY need him now more than ever, I am so glad that I know there was at least one soul waiting for John when he crossed-Pop.
Because my dad loved, really loved. So, I know that when my time comes to cross, Pop will be there for me the same way I am pretty sure that he was for John.
I know because I know Barb was there for Pop. I KNOW.
And because of the good things Pop taught me, I actually, in the end, feel badly that the way I know upsets you so, when it could be a great goodness, a perfect rightness in your life.
If you decide you want to talk about it, I'm pretty sure you know how to find me.