So...Today my Pop would have been 59 years old. As things happen, he left us in September of 2007. I really try not to remember dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, and such. I've been trying really hard to live in the moment. Leading up to this day I couldn't help but remember things. I couldn't help but remember my Pop.
For example this past Monday as I was driving into Florissant I saw a tow truck at the Sinclair station. Pop had a heart attack at this very gas station on St. Pat's day in 1998. He was loading a car onto his tow truck when he said he felt like he had been kicked in the chest by a jackass. Apparently he went inside and asked for help and then decided that he could probably finish loading the car onto the tow truck. This particular day it wasn't the tow truck or the gas station that sent me down that sorrow sweet road of recollection. It was the old Ford truck that was being towed away. Despite what my brother might tell you, Pop was once a FORD Man! I remember several Fords. One was purple in color, maybe plum would a better way to describe it. Before that there was a red one and another red one with a flat bed. The flat bed would shake and shimmy as it would increase in speed. I remember riding on the bed, standing up and looking at the ground pass underneath as I pressed my head in the space between the cab and the headache rack. Our Great Dane, Dana would stand on her hind legs with her front paws atop the roof and enjoy the view through town. He had a pea green, one ton that I drove to swim practices on summer mornings. There was the little blue Ranger from the salvage yard too. Ford trucks make memories flood. I would stand on the seat next to Pop, place my arm around his neck and request the eight track of "Nile Demoned" better know as Neil Diamond. We went fishing in Ford trucks, went to the Minute Market for chicken and Mountain Dew, we went to the A&W for root beer floats. I have a Ford truck too. In fact today, as my kiddo was sitting in the seat beside me and the truck was lugging the trailer full of lambs to the sale I thought of Pop. I think he would have been okay with bouncing down the road in a truck on his birthday.
I think he would be okay with a few other things too, like milk cows. I sat at dinner many evenings and listened to the stories that so many parents tell kids. In fact I find myself telling my kid the same kind of stories. The ones that start with, "When I was your age..." Pop told stories of rushing to cold barns to milk bossy cows before breakfast and school. He told of a grandfather's discipline when things weren't done as they should have been. He told racing on a horse named Jude while riding backwards in the saddle. He made teachable moments of errors made in his youth in attempts to steer the path of his children. He beamed with pride when speaking of his family, and always had a boyish look about him when he spoke of his mother.
Pop, in short was incredible. I'm happy that I've inherited some of his finer traits. Pop passed on special genes like; the prankster gene, the everyone has a nickname gene, the never take a serious picture gene. He made everyday an adventure.