Today is not my favorite day. I prefer things black and white and straightforward. I don’t like the gray areas that April Fools’ Day brings with it. Thankfully, April 1st was always more than a prankster holiday in my world because it was also Papa’s birthday. Papa (Carl) was my Mom’s Dad and even though he was as gruff and tough as any man on Earth he was MY Grandfather and God damn it, I miss him.
Papa would have been 84 today. Yesterday, we would have had ring bologna and hunks of cheese before dinner, roast beef and mashed potatoes for dinner (the vegetables, he gave up for Lent, an excuse he used year round) and my Mom’s homemade lemon meringue pie for dessert. Today Mr. MVP and I would have brought him ice cream from the Dairy Store and watched a John Wayne movie with him. Jesus Christ, this sucks.
Mr. MVP and I went and visited my grandparents’ grave yesterday to say hello and happy birthday. I was thinking about how much I miss hearing Papa sing Put Another Nickel In when I walked in the room or his grumbly “hey kid” when he needed something. I learned very early from him that the best section of the newspaper was the “educational section” (the comics), chocolate chip cookies needed to be protected and eaten quickly, and solitaire was a game to be played as often as humanly possible.
Each of my grandparents left their mark on my world and I miss all of them like crazy, but today I’m going to think about Papa. I’m going to channel some of his stubborn Marine sensibilities, grumble about local laws, scare some neighborhood teenagers and spend some time with Clint Eastwood. Happy Birthday Papa!