I have been reflecting on him daily now for a month, and I've come to the conclusion (one that I knew even before we knew he was sick) that no luckier a man in the world is there than I, to have such a gentleman allow me to be part of his family. He was everything you could hope for in a Father In Law, and nothing you dreaded in one. He always made me feel welcome; when we'd come over to his house to visit, he'd always ask you if you wanted coffee or something else to drink. We'd talk about LSU football alot, he loved the Tigers, and when they played, very little could be done to tear him away from the TV until the end of the game. On those times when they were losing however, he couldn't bear to watch them and he'd turn away from the TV, as if witnessing a horrible train wreck.
He was, without question, devoted to my two sons, & never a better Grandfather have two boys had than him. If you ever saw him with my sons (or indeed his own wife and children), you'd know that there was absolutely no question that unconditional love exists in this world.
We talked alot, he and I. We would talk at length about the hunting, politics, weather,history, his love for carving decoys, and about family. Family was important to him, and it showed, he looked forward to weekly phone calls from Baton Rouge with his son, and his brother. He always wanted to hear what they were doing, how the fish were biting or what was in season for hunting at the time.
He loved to hunt, though in the past few years he hadn't been able to. But we could hear the first sounds of dove season from his front porch, and he'd get this far away smile and twinkle in his eyes
at every report from a shotgun we heard.
I always loved to sit with him on the front porch on late summer afternoons, when the sun was going down behind the house. He was so much more than a friend or Father In Law, and I genuinely loved him like a Father. I never told him that, though I should have. I still look at his rocking chair out there on the porch with hopeful eyes, hoping to see him, and I do. I see him everywhere, and it is a great comfort to me, knowing that in the coming years I will see him everywhere; whether it's on the deck grilling hamburgers and drunken chicken, in the late October mountains, picking apples with my boys, I will see him in so many places, because he has left such an indelible mark on my heart.
It hurts to walk in this world without him, it seems lonelier by a distinct measure, the skies are a little grayer, songs a little sadder. I don't think I was ever as disappointed by anything as when his cell phone plan was cancelled, because, at least while it was on, I could call and hear his voice one last time.