We giggled uncontrollably at Daddy Bill. We were playing Jenga, and once again, he had caused all the carefully placed sticks (sticky from popsicle hands) to topple over. My sister and I secretly wanted him to mess up, because that was when his silly remarks would slip out of his smile.
Daddy Bill had the face of someone who had won a battle with a longhorn, rode a bucking bronco across the wild wild West, and hiked 1000 miles just to see you. And his smile and eyes lit up like a golf club catching the sun when he saw my sister and I running toward him at the airport. Daddy Bill! Juju!
I remember those splendid nights sitting out on the screen porch in humid Texas air. The locusts blared in the background, the wind chime played games in the summer breeze and the frogs croaked along in a rhythm, conducting a symphony from the Texas Classical Music genre. We ate our mini Blue Bell ice cream cups with wooden spoons that scraped our teeth as we watched intently for roaming deer. A pure joy buzzed in my heart on those nights. I had just had a wonderful day with Juju and Daddy Bill, and I knew tomorrow would be a whole new episode of excitement. I had probably gone to the American Girl store that day and was sitting with my doll in our matching pajamas. Or I might’ve had wet hair from swimming. All I know is that while I was on that porch, joy surrounded us and let our imaginations run around the universe.
Daddy Bill was so loving and gentle. He loved us so much and the memories I have with him taste even better than vanilla Blue Bell. He took us on crazy fast golf cart rides and played any board game we wanted (for however long we wanted).
Daddy Bill died four years ago today. I don’t feel sad necessarily, knowing that heaven can’t even be compared to this dying world. Daddy Bill is still alive with us, as a beautiful example of a man with an abounding faith in God. His golf tips live on and his silly remarks make me grin even if I’m not trying to. Daddy Bill is still with me and sees me accomplishing (and failing) at all my “things.” He watched me start high school. He cheered when I made the volleyball team, and encouraged me when I got cut the next year. He reads my newspaper articles and listens to my choir concerts, smiling his sweet smile all the while.
For a few summers, all of us cousins would go out to Texas and partake in GOLF-A-GANZA (I take credit for the name 🙂 It was a week of fun-filled summer-licious activities, piano lessons, and golf playing with each other. One particular week, Juju had imagined up some silly songs and characters to go along with our party. As we sat on the living room rug, Juju told us all to shout MR. TEES PLEASE! as loud as we could. All of a sudden, out came Daddy Bill, dressed in crazy argyle socks and a colorful necklace made of golf tees. It was a “talent show,” and we each had our own act (I think I sang itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini loud and proud.) Anyway, I like to think of Mr. Tees showing up sometimes and making us laugh when we’re having a rough day.
I wanted to do something for Daddy Bill and write something brilliant and deep for him, something that would serve justice for all the wonder and joy he brought to everyone he encountered. I’m so proud to be his granddaughter, and I can’t come up with some ballerina-y melt-in-the-mouth metaphor for that. I love Daddy Bill, and I miss him. I know heaven is pure wonderment (not even that word is good enough). He’s playing heavenly golf everyday with the angels, probably giving the saints some tips on how to better their swings on the driving range (thumbs lined up on the grip, swing fast). And he is with his Savior finally. Just think: my grandpa has seen the face of God. Woah.
I found a journal entry from fourth grade buried in one of my old Hannah Montana themed diaries (yes, I’ve kept all my old journals…don’t judge 🙂 and found this one:
Right now I am in my room writing this. I want to be in Granbury with Juju and DB. I want a golf cart ride. I want ice-cream on the porch room. And especially I miss Juju and Daddy Bill.
Funny how something can still be so relevant eight years later. Thank you for everything Daddy Bill. I love you and miss you.