Last Saturday, my siblings and I lost our last parent. Our biological parents passed a few years ago but Charles, as he preferred to be called, was our parent by choice. We were all adults when he married Mom 37 plus years ago but not so much for the array of grandchildren to follow. Many of the great grandchildren know him only as Grandpa because he is the only one they knew.
I can’t even begin to list the relatives who seemed to come out of the woodwork in their times of need. He helped them all, above and beyond as some would say. He cared for Mom during her extended illness until she died in 2016.
He spent the past two years with Mark and me. He was a great house mate. He loved to tell stories. I learned a lot about his childhood and things he did over his 85 years. He was quite a jokester as well. The first thing he would tell new people he met here was that I had kidnapped him. That’s the only way he would become a Texan.
A few months ago someone bought a vacant house in the neighborhood and began a major remodel. Every few days he wanted me to drive him around the block to inspect the progress. Every trip brought a discussion about what they should have done and how to do it. The conversation usually ended with “I don’t know why they didn’t tear it down and start over.” The remodel completed and the family moved in around mid-January. He hadn’t been leaving the house so he was only able to see the finished product as we drove him to ER a few weeks ago.
In recent weeks he talked about going home and fishing on “Cat Creek” which ran alongside the childhood farm home. I thought he was just forgetting the name because I thought it was Cache Creek. When I mentioned this, I was told not only was it Cat Creek, it was Tom Cat Creek which was named after a man named Tom Cat. The spelling may not be correct and I have only been able to find a Cat Creek in the Atoka area but I’m guessing he knew of which he spoke. He lived on that farm for 72 years.
He had a subscription to the Apache Newspaper. Every week he learned another of his friends had passed. He often mentioned there may not be any left to attend his service. We’ll see in a few weeks when we have his service in Apache.
He said his years in business taught him to keep his opinions to himself and just listen. He was good at listening which is a really good thing because I’m mostly good at talking.
We love and miss you!