I miss Papa Tang today.
Last night, as I was sending my last "Tweet" on Twitter, I said, "Glad you all got to see me!" One of my Twitter friends, @jplovesmem (or Janice Person), knew Papa and appreciated the humor. It really made me miss him. If you knew Papa Tang - and MANY people all over Memphis knew Papa Tang - you know he had a saying for everything. EVERYTHING!
We are constantly saying these words around our house, "Papa Tang used to say that!" or, "As Papa Tang used to say..." Especially now with the Peanut around.
She burbs at the dinner table, "Bring it up again, and we'll vote on it!"
Bradyn whips up one of her "recipe" concoctions for me to taste, "No, thank you, I just had a bar of soap."
I cut a board a little too short for the picnic table, "That's okay, we'll just go pick up some 3/4" caulking."
"Well, take ol' Kimberley Denise Rotten there, for instance. She means well...."
Another big burp from a family member, "Now let's hear from another county!"
And, everyone's favorite:
Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cock-eyed mosquitos, and, bow-legged ants...
I come before you, and not behind you.
I come to tell you a story about which I know perfectly nothing of.
Last night, a ton of bricks, rolled up my driveway,
And killed our poor old dead cat.
So, we rushed him to the hospital as slowly as we could,
To find King Arthur at the fourth corner of his round table,
Eating vinegar with a fork!
Papa Tang married my Grandmama when my mom was a teenager. He had two daughters (Aunt Dixie and Aunt Glenda), and Grandmama had two daughters (my mom and Aunt Buff.) Like the Brady Bunch. He was never-ever-ever considered a step-anything. If you had Papa, you were as blood-kin. That went for family, friends, anyone. He married my Grandmama and took care of her better than any man on earth would have. You've never seen two old people gush and mush over each other like them two. Little things. He held the door for her, and patiently waited as it took her 30 minutes to say "good-bye" when leaving anywhere. She saved the "heart" of the watermelon for him because he was her sweetheart. You better not even think about stealing it and eating it yourself!
He was a real card! A fine christian man who took his family to church on Sundays, was an elder at church, led a boyscout troop, and prayed for our every meal. He also had a thing for beautiful women. Like the Barbie Twins, as you could tell walking into his shop. Pin-up models from the war, calendars, all in full clothing of course. He was a flirt! I can't tell you how many nurses and sales girls I witnessed him flirting with. But, it never even worried me at all. Even as a child, I new he was just kidding with those girls. His love for Grandmama was SOOOOO over the top. Much like my Dad with my mom.
But, today, mostly, I miss the hugs. I'd give anything (getting vehclemnt) for one of those hugs. To hold his big hand in church and play with his wedding ring like I did as a child. Even as he was on hospice before he died, we would climb up on that hospital bed set up in his room at home, and lay our head on his shoulder. Even when he got to weak to talk, to weak to call me "Little Sug", he would try his best to pat me so I knew he meant he loved me. My girls, who were 6 and 2 at the time, climbed up in bed with us. When he died, I was at first afraid to see him. We went over to the house and I peeked around the corner. He didn't look good. But, I just couldn't help myself. I had to hold his hand. It was cold already, but I didn't care. Eventually the room filled up with his four girls and Grandmama and some of us cousins, and I'll never forget. "Susan! His back is still warm!" my Aunt Buff cried, and we all immediately slid our hands under him to feel what was left of Papa's warmth on earth. I never wanted the funeral home to get there. I wanted to stay right there with Grandmama and hold him forever.
Even my small children, who are usually afraid of funerals and the dead - kissed his forehead as he laid there in the coffin. Not an ounce of hesitation. It was Papa. In his hands, a yellow mum that Bradyn had brought to him the week before. He asked me to put it in his hands as they crossed them in his coffin. Papa was just meant for cuddling. I'd just really give anything - anything for him to hold me again in that big recliner and rest my head on his shoulder.
When I was single, I prayed for God to send me a "Papa Tang" like he did for Grandmama. God gave me Charlie. And, as Bradyn and Morgan love on Charlie, I can't help but feel God's presence in our lives...because both Papa Tang and Charlie are witnesses to the healing Christ brings. Praise God for them both!