I could tell you a zillion wonderful things about my Papa. He is a great man who I have always called "my protector" and always looked up to. He was born on July 20th, 1925 and named Kermit Carey. He married my granny when she was only 15 and they had to lie since she was so young. They had 3 kids, my mom being the youngest. He used to have a horse named Tex and was always a southern boy. He loved to hunt and fish and camp and did it often when my mom was young. He retired from Freightliner and was always an usher at church. I could continue with such facts, but I want to tell you why I love him soo much, why he and I have a special bond that will never be broken. Why he is my papa.
Let's start at the beginning.... My mom was a single 22yr old when she had me, something very taboo in my family. No one was supportive of her and she really struggled, but my Papa loved me no matter what. He was there for my mom when she had me and everyday since. I was even named Kerri after him (his middle name plus KER from Kermit). I think our first special moment was when I was just a baby, we have a picture of him holding me and me giving my first smile. Now it could have been gas, but as Papa will tell you, he got my first smile. I think I knew he was special back then, and he always makes me smile now.
Growing up my papa and I were always close, even when I lived farther away. I called him one day and told him my mommy and daddy had been beating me all day long, when in reality it was probably just a well deserved spanking. He got in the car and drove for hours just to see me. My mom was not thrilled about my claim and stripped me down to prove I had not a mark or bruise on me. It didn't matter though, Papa came to my rescue! The few times I went camping, and I use that term loosely, my Papa made me a toilet. He took an old style folding chair, the kind with a metal frame and the harsh woven patterned plastic and cut the bottom off and attached a toilet seat. Perfect for the little girl who wouldn't squat! I was crushed the day this was sold in a garage sale.
As far back as I can remember Papa has told me, and everyone else, that I was his favorite. I am one of 5 grand-kids, and the oldest of them all. At every family dinner, be it holidays or just a Sunday dinner, I was at the seat next to Papa. It was an unspoken rule, although I often yelled my "I'm next to Papa" claim just in case. Papa would sit me on his lap and we'd watch Whammy aka Press Your Luck, and All In The Family. He'd make me his famous chicken noodle soup (all it was was Campbell's but somehow it still tastes better when he warms it on the stove). He would make me nachos when I'd come over after middle school everyday. We shared a love of peanut butter and he taught me to put it on everything from waffles to ice cream, and eating peanut butter and butter sandwiches, of which I crave during pregnancy now.My grandpa worried about me when I went away to college and he worried through all my bad boyfriends and eating disorders. The day I told him Kris and I were getting married he nearly cried. I had only known Kris a few months, but my Papa looked at us and said that he thought Kris was a good man and he was glad I found someone who will take care of me. I asked him if he would walk me down the aisle, and he did. After much convincing I even got him to dance with me. It wasn't long, and Papa asked Kris to step in, but that moment was one of the most special to me and one I will always remember my Papa for. I picked the song I Loved Her First, because he really did - before any other man, it was always Papa.
Today Papa is getting older, he'll be 84 years old tomorrow. Or as he will tell you, reverse the numbers, so he'll claim to be 48! My granny has Alzheimer's and has been in a home for a few years now, and it takes it toll on Papa. He doesn't take care of himself like he used to, but he's still out taking walks daily and he gets coffee with our office manager almost every Sunday. When I told Papa I was expecting a baby his face lit up. It gave him something to look forward to, his first great-grandchild. Now every time he sees me he asks "are you taking care of that little boy?". I'm looking forward to the day Aiden is born and I can have a picture of my Papa and him, and what a picture it will make to have him and my son, and my husband. The three greatest loves of my life. Even my husband knows though, my Papa can never be replaced as the man in my life. He always has been and always will be so very special to me. I cry just thinking of him now, he is so special to me, he is My Papa.