The Good Captain Seahorse arrived two days into the month of May, and it turns out that the Patriarch of our family, Grandpapa SoulFull, went home to the Lord with two days left. What a month it has been.
I can't decide if it makes me glad or sad, that forever, we will associate The Captain's birthday with his Great Grandfather leaving us. In one respect, I am loathe to think that every birthday will dredge up the pain of loss, particularly for Great Grandma. On the other hand, I think there is a beautiful symmetry to it. This ninth great grand child. 5th great grandson. The representation of his legacy...
The Critter Catcher, formerly known as The (Big) Boy, would have been born on Grandpapa SoulFull's 70 th birthday, by induction, had he not decided to show up earlier in the month ( Elk season, I was chided, don't deliver during elk season....). So nearly 70 years to the day after his own birth, Grandpapa SoulFull welcomed his first great grandson, another red head like himself. The first red head in their family since himself.
It's like they are some kind of eclipse...occurring every 70 years in this family. A wild, yet strangely pensive and sensitive red-headed fellow. Grandpapa was country, born in Tennessee, raised by the village, so to speak. The Critter Catcher thinks of himself that way- determined that the word "redneck" is some kind of badge of honor, bestowed upon the toughest, funniest, coolest of folks.
The both of them...constantly full of jokes and mischief. Trademarks of their red-headedness.
From the moment my redhead arrived, I was warned that with the hair came a disposition. It's so strange how it seems true, but then...could that be like a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Regardless. It is fascinating how much alike these two fellows are. Not so odd, in all honesty, when you consider their connection.
The Mister spent many of his formative years happily tucked beneath his Papas wings. He joined the military, albeit another branch of the service, and ended up in as close to the same job ( as his Papa) as you can find in these two different branches of the service.
Though I sometimes feel I can't remember that I really existed before I became one of them, I feel like an outsider to the family grief. Yet, it was he
that welcomed me, wholeheartedly, from the very beginning.
When everyone else in the family tried to smile at us,
but was really scared to death that we were making a horrible mistake.
He smiled at us. He made us feel that he believed in us.
And that meant the world to us.
But what endears him most...the legacy I am grateful for:
He wasn't a perfect man of course, and he didn't always have the perfect marriage or perfect family.
But he never, ever gave up.
He stuck to his family, thick and thin, when it wasn't fun, when it wasn't romantic....he woke up in the same bedroom for nearly 60 years. He didn't always get along with is wife, but even when she exasperated him...there was a light in his eyes that said "you're mine, and I love you" even when he was irritated.
I am so grateful to be part of that legacy. In a world where "if it isn't fun, don't do it" is the mainstay, my little family has the privilege of coming from stock that believes love runs deeper than feelings....and in the end what you see is a couple that managed to stay in love for roughly 60 years...raise 2 sons, 4 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren....who love them, want to be with them.
Good Job, Billy. Thank you for making me a real part of the family. I am absolutely honored.