“He was a mean son of a bitch and I’m glad he’s dead.”
I didn’t know my grandfather. Nobody, including my mother, ever spoke about him. One time I asked my Uncle Dave about him. That was his answer.
When something like this lives in your family history, how does it affect the generations that come after?
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She was such a funny kid. The youngest in the family, the clown. She could make me laugh until I face ached and my stomach would have laughter abs. That was what made her a hit with everyone, all those smiles and all that joy. Priceless, she was.
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Stop me if I’ve told you this before. Oh, right. You don’t know what I’m talking about yet. Well, when I was a kid I had these gold colored cap guns. Shaped like six shooters. They used caps that came in a disc with six shots. I had a plastic holsters to carry them in – one on each hip. I tell you, I was so cool carrying those cap guns down the street, I could hardly stand myself.
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I remember my mom saying, “use your own two feet,” when I complained about wanting to go somewhere she didn’t have time to take me. Way back then, I didn’t realize what a gift it was to have two good feet and two good legs that would propel me through space and take me places with ease. Feet, knees, legs, I want to thank you for your service. You’ve done well.
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Are you a thrift store shopper or do you want your new clothes to actually be new clothes? I do a bit of both. When you are still wearing 25 year old tee shirts, maybe finding new clothes of any kind isn’t really your main focus in life.
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Many people have talked about Carrie Fisher as a childhood idol. For my generation her mother Debbie Reynold was the idol. For me personally, I idolized Esther Williams when I was a child. She was a swimmer, as I was, and she could do magical things in the water. I wanted to do everything in the water that Esther Williams could do.
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You’ve been opening presents lately, right? I’ll bet there are some strange gifts in your history. Things you can’t imagine why someone gave you? Mine was a basketball. What did I want with a basketball? Nothing, actually. But I got one. Odd how other people around me had so much fun with it.
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Happy holiday remembrances usually involve the smells of wonderful things cooking and baking while mothers or grandmothers labored in the kitchen. The rest of the family waited eagerly for that announcement, “Dinner’s ready,” so they could crowd together around a table and praise the food and eat too much. If you had a happy family, and happy memories, you’re really remembering the love. Do that. Remember the love.
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My dad taught me to fish, hunt, tie flies, crank an ice cream freezer and play golf. He took me outside to walk through river bottoms and pine covered hills. He let me row the boat in search of catfish and drive the truck to learn to shift gears. The biggest gift he gave me, however, was his love of learning.
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My mom didn’t go to college but she was really smart. She worked for Ma Bell for 25 years when it was unusual for a woman to be working. She loved to play bridge and golf and had lifelong friends who stuck by her through everything. She was a great role model.
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