Close to Nowhere
Sunday, Sept. 17, would have been Doyle’s (Butch or Pop) 66th birthday. He’s been gone for three years but sometimes it’s almost like he’s out in the shed working.
Not a morning person, he’d stay up all night working on motors or props or various and sundry other boat-related stuff.
He loved fishing and hunting and boats and guns and cold weather and living in the woods.
We lived in Memphis, Tenn., the first part of our lives, both growing up there and raising our family there.
Pop was the head of the mechanic shop at a railroad company -- Conley Frog & Switch Co. for many years.
He left Conley’s to manage the production shop at a small company that made bits and pieces of things for Carrier Corp.
His goal in life was to quit working for a company and run a boat motor shop, so he could fish and hunt all he wanted.
Unfortunately, it took a major heart surgery at 42 for him to retire. But he managed to get his shop up and running. Both our granddaughters grew up in that shop, as he was their main babysitter.
When they started school, he picked them up every afternoon and he just generally bossed them around. He was born bossy.
The girls are grown now and living their own lives, but sometimes when they’re at the house and we’re talking about Pop like he’s still there.
We tell Tim (Mere’s) and Mitch (Remy’s) Pop stories, and most of them are true. And the “boys” love his shop. It’s been cleaned and dusted (well, not really) and all the guys like playing out there.
Occasionally Tim will bring in something that he’s made for a brother (he’s one of seven boys) or his father and it’s usually beautiful and quite often looks like something Pop would have made.
Sunday I think I’m going to make Pop’s favorite birthday dinner. Daughter Dana will probably be the only one to eat it with me -- liver and onions, with rice and gravy and green beans. There will have to be pineapple upside down cake as well. All his favorites.
For some reason lately it seems like Pop is just outside or off down the road.
While I’m enjoying his birthday dinner I’ll be remembering him and the good things. I try very hard not to remember the times I wanted to shoot him. I’m sure he never wanted to shoot me.
I miss him...