Today is the second annual “Papa Day”.
This will be the third October 10th that my grandfather hasn’t been with us…and we all miss him horribly. I would have had so many things to tell him this year. I would have told him all about my house and showed him pictures. I would have showed him pictures of my garden and told him all about what all we were growing, the success we were having, and the lessons we were learning. I would have picked his brain for gardening tips and tricks and asked him for gardening stories. I would have showed him the hat that my mom got for Trey that is just like the one he wore. I would have told him about my new job and how happy it makes me. He would have loved that I am able to be home at a reasonable hour and that I have weekends and holidays off. He would laugh sweetly at how long Trey’s beard has gotten.
I came up with the idea for Papa Day last year as a way to make his birthday into something joyful and comforting for my family. The idea is that on this day, you honor him and do something that brings you joy, but also helps you feel connected to him in some way. You might wake up before the sun and sit with a cup of coffee to ease into the day. You might make a large breakfast spread for someone you love with biscuits and chocolate gravy, preserves, honey, eggs, bacon, etc. You might spend time in the sunshine, working outside or just sitting outside. You might make a southern dinner of cornbread and “field foods”. Whatever you want to do, or can do, that will help you feel linked in some way. It feels like a little bit of a reset to devote time and energy to just remembering him, loving him, and finding this connection.
Last year, Papa Day held a lot more than this year’s did. I was working this year, and by the time I got home - I felt too tired for much of anything. So, I took a bath, combed my hair, put on my robe, and sat down to write this. I have vivid memories of my grandfather gathering his pajamas and a towel from upstairs and going downstairs to take a shower every single night. When he would come back upstairs, he would have on his robe and his plaid pajama-bottoms would be peeking out from beneath it. He’d have on cozy socks and his house shoes. His hair would be perfectly combed and he would sometimes say something about how squeaky clean he was. He wouldn’t stay awake for much longer. His shower was always at the very end of his night.
So, here I am. Squeaky clean and ready for bed. The second Papa Day is coming to a close, and somehow he feels farther away but so much closer at the same time.