Sunday, June 19, 2011

Papa Jack

My Papa Jack is a lovely wonderful man.  If you don't know much about Papa Jack, you should read this for background. There are all kinds of tales to tell about Jack.  So I will tell a few. 

Mother was dating Jack when I was in high school.  His brother, who was a huge football hero,  and I had a class together.  Taylor didn't know I was alive.  But he soon knew me and my friends.  I called Jack, Papa Jack as a joke after I walked in on Mother and him necking.  The name stuck and all my friends called him Papa Jack too.  If Jack is my papa,  then his brother Taylor became my Uncle Taylor. 

Teen age girls are so silly.  We'd drive by the funeral home where Jack worked and hang out the windows and scream, "Hi Papa Jack". (not when there was a body there, we had some sense)  Then we would roar up the street into the service station where Taylor worked, dinging the bell for service. (for you youngsters, stations used to pump the gas for you, and they had a hose on the driveways that rang a bell inside when a car drove over it)  Taylor would come out and we would scream,  "Hi Uncle Taylor!!!"  Then we roared off. Only to return later that night. We never bought gas from that station.  This was high entertainment on a Saturday night.  I don't think Uncle Taylor has forgiven me yet.  I think I even called him Uncle Taylor at school.  Jack thought it was funny.

Papa Jack and Mother have been married 49 years.  He now is Papaw Jack to five grandchildren and to eight great grandchildren. He and Mother hadn't been married many years and he took her to his high school reunion.  I am thinking maybe the 15th.  His class mates are showing baby pictures and Jack stopped the show when he pulled out pictures of his three grown children and his grandchildren.  Love that story.

Lots of people call him Papa Jack.  Why, maybe because he takes care of the world. He helps any and all that need it.   When Mother's sisters were widowed, Papa Jack handled the arrangements, he even took them into his home for years.

Papa Jack is a HUGE  University of Kentucky football and basketball fan.  He and Mother tailgate at the football games.  They rotate with members of the family and friends on who brings the food. But Basketball is his love.  He loves college ball. 

In the mid 80s during March Madness, UK was playing in the regionals in San Jose.  Papa Jack, his brother and his brother in law got tickets and flew out to go to the games.  I arranged for a friend's son, Shawn, to drive our van and take them to the games. Shawn took off work and was thrilled to go to the tournament.  Shawn told us this story.

Shawn let them out at the arena, parked the car, and met them inside.  As they walked into the the seating area, the Lexington TV crew yelled hello to Jack, Paul, and Charles ( I think that was the brother with them).  Shawn was very impressed the TV crew knew these men.  Since these men never missed a home game, and made as many tournament games as possible, they were known and liked by all the sports people.   Shawn said it was a wonderful experience being with the "old guys". They had fun, they laughed, they enjoyed life.   They were there for the games, not just UK but all the games.  Shawn told them he wanted be just like them when he got old. Not sure how they felt about that word old popping up all the time.  They were probably in their 50s.

And that is what my Papa Jack does.  He enjoys life.  He helps the family to enjoy life.  He is there if we need him.  He stepped into an impossible situation.  A grown stepdaughter about to marry, a teenage stepdaughter about to cause some kind of drama and uproar, and a teenage stepson who wanted to be the alpha male.  And he made it work.  We adore him, we respect him, and he is our Papa Jack.

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