One of my favorite parts of the day was when you would come home. There was something about the anticipation. The wondering if we would get to go to the store. I always loved making trips just the two of us and still have the memory of when we went to a hardware store and I had inadvertently shoplifted a Werther's original candy roll seared into my memory. The best part of that memory being your kind explanation to the store person about how I had put it in my pocket and forgotten it was in there.
Your fun-loving spirit has reminded me to not take my own little patch of the universe and subsequent ramifications from my feeble attempt at living too seriously. After all, it's so short, why bother with excessive whining or negativity? And there aren't many people in this world who are almost always positive, and yet you are. Oh, occasionally, usually in an election year, you get a little ruffled, but even that is often shoved aside for exuberant cheering of some grandchild's accomplishment of this, that or the other.
Your passion for learning, and dedication to continued its pursuit is inspiring. You were always one of my best teachers, so that you are rounding out your time teaching students just seems to make perfect sense. I'm quite certain there have been many whose lives you have deeply impacted, even if they might not know the three branches of government still despite your best efforts. Likely they are learning much more than history and government from you, for true teachers have a way of teaching the stuff of life via whatever topic they are tasked with.
Your relationship with God and servant-leadership in the Church has also been inspiring and encouraging. That someone can love and serve well their whole life is no small thing. It was no shock that you announced the other day that once settled into life in Oklahoma again singing in the church choir had resumed as well. Many memories spring to life whenever my church sings an older hymn (instead of one of those new-fangled "praise" songs) as your soaring baritone erupts from my mind as if you were standing beside me.
You were the best father a girl could have wanted or needed, so much so that I've already prepared my dear husband for me being a blubbering wreck when you finally go home. I'm hoping your mom's genes prevail and I have another solid thirty years at least, maybe even forty, so we can have a goofy picture of you on the today show and wish you a one hundred and someteenth birthday someday. Happy father's day papa tradition, and I hope the day is one full of honor and love for you.