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Fireworks! Stars! Stripes! Red, white, and blue! BBQ! Picnic! Family! Friends! Heat! Summer! Desserts! Adult beverages! All this sounds familiar right? Unless of course you aren’t from the United States. In that case, of course, you are excused from knowing that all of the above exclamations = 4th of July. This is honestly one of my favorite holidays, as I think I mentioned before… Nevertheless, I’ll say it again! I love the 4th of July! Dressing, decorating, cooking in one color scheme? Yes, please! But today is about more than that for my family. Today is my late grandfather, Papa’s, birthday. It’s been 7 (what!) years since he passed at the end of July.
Most days I go on about my life not taking the time to remember the special moments I and the rest of my family shared with him. Sadly, as the years go by, I find it harder and harder to remember small details. Of course, specific memories never fade like his soft chuckle, how he always carried LifeSaver peppermints in his back pocket, he was the only man I knew that carried a handkerchief, how he walked with a slight limp due to a bout with polio as a boy, but mostly, I remember when my brothers and sister and I were younguns’ and we stayed the night at “Nana and Papa’s” house; my mom or Nana would give us a bath and douse us in baby powder. While the powder was still fresh and our cheeks still flushed from the steam of the bath, we would run into the den and let Papa smell our stomachs. “Papa loves the smell of baby powder,” Nana would always say. “Now run in there and let Papa smell you.” And Papa would smile with his arms open and say, “Oohh y’all come here and let me smell your tummys!”
So on this day, we not only remember the brave men and women who fought, and still fight, for our freedom and safety, but also my dear grandfather with whom many fond moments were shared. Here’s to you Papa – the smartest, wittiest, kindest, most selfless man I know. Love you Papa!