My pap, my mom’s dad, was a hero to many, myself included. Since he was a veteran and today is Veterans Day, I wanted to post a little something about him.
For the first 5 years of my life, I grew up just down the street from my nana and pap’s house. Being so close in location, I would go over almost everyday. I loved going there, as I would assume (or hope) most kids do with their grandparents.
When he was there, you would always find my pap in the back room in his recliner, chewing his tobacco, watching TV, and eating. He was usually watching either the Steelers game, a country western flick, or some type of action show. I sat on his lap a lot. He had a really big, hard belly (sort of like Santa Clause) and I loved to rest on it. He loved to eat, and I’m positive thats where I get my love for food from.
When I was 5, my mom and I moved away after my parents divorced. We no longer lived within walking distance. A plane ride became the quickest way to my grandparents, and so, thats how I traveled to see them every summer when I got out of school. I would spend about a month at their house each time. While I was there, we swam, played bocci, ate spaghetti, and played cards, among many other things.
My pap would also drive the motorhome down to visit us too. I remember how much I would look forward to those visits. We would go to Disney World, strawberry picking, the circus, and other places when he did. He would cook for us and come and watch my soccer games.
I continued my summer trips through my school years, until I moved far enough north to where I was within driving distance again. Then I would go for events, like weddings, holidays, etc. I had the opportunity to introduce both my pap and nana to my husband back in 2001. My pap gave his approval. This meant a lot to me.
Many times I told my husband how I prayed they would make it until our wedding day. I couldnt imagine getting married without them there. Thankfully, in 2007, they both attended our wedding. I cherish the photos and the time we had.
Time kept passing and each visit changed from the last. In late 2010, my pap left us and went to heaven. He was 90. Just months prior to his passing, I got to spend some wonderful time with him, just the 2 of us. I am so grateful for that time. I will never forget it.
My pap didnt pass quietly thats for sure, just as he never lived that way either. He was part of the Fire Department for almost for 60 years. He was the Fire Chief, president, and annual Fire Hall santa (gotta love that belly!). He was the mayor, a councilman, and a constable. He served in World War II for 4 years, receiving several medals for his service. I could go on.
After his mass, his coffin was placed on top of a fire truck and driven to the cemetery where he rests in peace. At the burial, a 21 gun salute was performed and American flag placed over the coffin. A large celebration followed the burial where we listened to recordings he made during WWII when overseas, people gave speeches about him, and ate and drank in honor of him.
This is just a tidbit of my pap’s life. He was and is an influential person in my life and the community. Today, in honor of Veterans Day, he is featured on a flag hanging above where he worked for so many years. Love you, Pap!