There are just some days when I wake up with memories of my grandfather in my head. He will be constantly in my thoughts, like a rolling frame of memories. Today happens to one of those days.
I can remember him once talking about his father and saying, "I tell you he was IT to me. I don't think anyone ever loved their father as much as I did him." Well, PaPaw was IT to me! I often wonder if he knew how much all of his grandchildren loved and adored him. I should say idolized him. He helped raise my sister until my mother remarried my father. So, to her he was so much more to her than a grandfather. Of course being more than a grandfather and a father was a role he was used to.
William Victor Ladner, my grandfather was only 19 years old when his father was killed. He then promised he would stay home and raise his 10 siblings, the youngest three months of age. He worked hard and had to relocate the family to a nearby city in order to have a good paying job to feed them all. He had many years of practice of being a father. His own siblings looked upon him that way. They always came to him and asked his opinion. He gave up many things a young man of 19 would rather be doing. He even gave up a young woman, named Eva whom he loved and wished to marry. He said, "I was on her porch and was intending to go in and propose. But, I felt something inside telling him that something was not right. Telling him to wait." He did. Ten years later he married my grandmother, Irma Wiese.
I see myself tagging along behind him, asking him questions. He had all the patience in the world for me. As he was building something in his carpentry shed, he would take down a child size hammer and a saw that were just for me, so that I may work right along side of him. He would then tell me about his father as we worked, and how he once worked along side him.
It seems I blinked my eyes and the time flew by and I was a young woman with children of my own, who were now outside at the carpentry shed, using the tools I once used. Nailing little pieces of scraps together, while PaPaw made a bench for my mother, or the cherished steps to nowhere. That the children would endlessly climb over just for the fun of it.
If I close my eyes and listen, I can still hear his deep chuckling laugh....and he is here with me again, even if just as a memory...it is enough for now.