You were my first love and my hero. You were always bigger than life. When I was small you carried me on your shoulders and I felt safe from the world. Each night I would climb in your lap while my sister had the place of honor
at your feet. It wasn’t until I met Jesus, years later, I would understand how significant this was. I just knew I felt loved. You always brought me a glass of water and tucked me in and left the light on until I fell asleep.
I remember the trips to ‘The Plant’ where you would go up rickety stairs to your office and my brother and I would get free hot chocolate and cookies from the vending machine, then ride the conveyer rollers through the buildings
and collect bottle caps. We’d wait at the barber’s and read comic books while you had your hair cut and pick up sandwiches at Galco’s delicatessen for the rest of the family.
You and Grandpa JoJo would sit under the eaves listening to the Dodger game on the radio tipping back the deck chairs and wearing ball caps, while I watched you cheer. You took me to Dodger Double Headers and even when we were
down by 6 runs and everyone else had left the stadium, we stayed and you said, “We only need 7 runs this inning. That’s all we need.” That’s the kind of faithfulness you had and you birthed a knowledge in my heart that you were worthy of that same kind of
trust and indeed you were. You were always there for me and never gave up.
We went to a store a long way from home and bought snacks, only to realize we didn't pay for the bag of chips in my arms that got overlooked, as we talked and laughed. We drove all the way back to the store and made it right.
Almost everywhere we went, people gave you too much change and you always gave it back, because you were a man of character and of honor.
I remember the night you left, when you and Mom divorced. I was sure I would not survive the night, my heart was breaking so painfully, but you kept your promise to always be there when I needed you and you never forgot me,
or replaced me. The most important thing was, you didn’t want to go.
You always loved me for who I am and didn’t try to discourage me from the things I really desired. With almost everyone in my life gone, you recognized how badly I needed something to hang onto and something to love, so we went
through an endless supply of mice, white rats, raccoons and eventually horses. One Sunday when you came to pick me up, you let me bring my friend and you sat in the car for hours while we rode rented horses at a stable. After you bought me my own horse, you
always bragged about my most recent show results to your friends.
We were partners. We went to Premier movies in Hollywood with a mouse in your pocket, we visited planetariums, museums, tar pits, fancy restaurants, Disneyland, SeaWorld and went school shopping and even took a mouse out to
eat at Bob's Big Boy drive in.
You jumped through a million hoops and red tape to get permission to take foster kids, that you did not even know and would never see again, to Disneyland, because you said “Every child should go there at least once in their
life and if we don’t take them, they never will”. You taught me compassion for others less fortunate and helped me to understand how very fortunate I myself, really was.
Your heart was for the innocent and you loved kids and animals. You were always delighted over the antics of children, new foals, goats or whatever my pet of the day was and marveled at the intelligence and loyalty of my dogs.
You told me to never leave someone with harsh words between us because you may never see them again. Life is fragile and unpredicatable and you didn't want my heart burdened with regret.
As often as I disappointed you, you were always there, cheering me on, encouraging me. Sometimes I failed miserably. I could see the hurt in your eyes, but you told me you wouldnever be ashamed of me. I
would always have your approval because of who I am.
When my first son was born, I used to write you letters as though from him and you made sure I knew you loved that. Everything I ever wrote after that, I have written with your audience in mind. You wanted me to write
the book, but I couldn't get it finished. I am glad though, that I was able to send you many of the chapters and if I ever get it finished, it will be for you.
You were my conscience as a child, not because I feared you, but because I knew you loved me and I did not want to disappoint you. I know I disappointed you sometimes anyway, but your arms were still always open.
You were the only person we knew who would drive a Lincoln Continental on the ranch like it was a truck. I don't know how many times we would pull in the driveway and hear the boys yell out "GRAMPA IS HERE!"
People always meant more than possessions with you, although things were always good for entertainment and you loved seeing people happy.
In all things you always had a sense of humor. You never left a room without making someone laugh or smile first. You taught us how to laugh, how to love, how to be faithful and the importance of good character. You ingrained
deeply in me to always do what is 'right', even if it hurts. You always put others first and through the giving of your time and resources to anyone you saw in need, you modeled humility.
Your signature dishes were potato salad, cornmeal mush with polish sausage, and cream cheese garlic dip. I used to marvel at how you used your big chef’s knife to chop up the pickles. I still have it and I still make
your potato salad, always thinking about you when I do. The garlic dip, I usually only eat if I want to be alone, because with that on my breath, I surely will be. I have always, always thought of you with a smile when I have any of these.
When I was in a nearly fatal accident, I woke up after days of unconsciousness to find you by my side. You had gone out and gotten a polaroid camera so you could take pictures of my horse, because you knew that she was dear to me and I would want to see her.
The pictures and a snoopy dog were on my chest when I woke up. I don't know if I ever told you how much that meant to me. Indeed, my many trips to hospitals when I was young, you were almost sure to be there anytime I opened my eyes.
Gaining my independence at an early age, you allowed me my freedom but remained my safety net, knowing that whenever I got in too deep, I would come running back to you and when my life shattered, the part of me that insured
my survival was the part that knew you were there for me.
Even now, a grandmother myself, you still make me feel special, that I am still your little girl. Always smiling, always happy to see me, always wanting to hear my latest accomplishments and exploits as well as those of my children
and never leaving Randy out of the equation. You never left out family and for you, everyone you met was family.
I think the reason it was so easy for me to come to know and trust my Heavenly Father, is because of the kind of earthly father you were. You bore so many of His qualities and my sons carry on your legacy of love and fatherhood.
I already miss you terribly Daddy. I am glad you went peacefully to your new and forever home and I am sure the reunion there is joyful, as your life here on earth was. So for the very last time here, I will tell you “I love
I can’t wait to see you again.
"But do not be ignorant, brethren concerning those who have
died, lest you mourn like those who have no hope"
1 Thess. 4:13