I preface this blog with the following:
I am not a religious man. I believe in a higher power. I have to hope there’s one out there. Sometimes, I call Him/Her/It God. Sometimes, we talk. Sometimes, I pray.
That’s about as far as it goes.
This isn’t one of my favorite seasons because I find comfort in the community a church provides, though I know people who do, and for them that comfort is real, and it works magic at points. No judgement from me.
This (Thanksgiving to Christmas) is my favorite season because it reminds me that a great man lived a great life. He was my grandpa, or Papa. He was a cook. A bongo drummer. A marine in Korea. A bartender. One of Santa’s helpers, who didn’t need to be given extra padding for his Santa suit, because he already had the right amount of padding. A reader of stories from The Hardy Boys to The Boxcar Children to Crichton to The Great Gatsby to my own offerings. Which he always read with a twinkle in his eye.
He was my first reader. He believed in me always. When he was lying, short of breath, in his bed near the end of his life, he took my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “My writer.”
I am his writer. It’s my job to preserve his memory. To tell you that he made his own turkey gravy, and in my dreams I can still taste it around this time of year. He made two kinds of pie every holiday, apple and pumpkin. I always ate both kinds every holiday, because I could.
I miss you, Pop. I will always miss you. Somewhere up there, in the Afterlife, where you’ve defeated the cancer that took you from us, you’re preparing for a Christmas to come, and you’re saying, “I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, kid. We had a big turkey up here. And we thought of you.”