Honey Baby Turns Forty

Sadly, I’m not talking about my daughter, but the doll she’s holding in her arms. My wife figures this photo was taken shortly after my daughter’s third birthday. We don’t remember the exact date, but it has to be close. If you look into her eyes, you can see how much she loves Honey Baby. If you were to look into my eyes right now, you would see pools of tears yet to fall.

Forty years ago my wife and I were in our twenties, living in our own home a few miles away from my parents. We had decent jobs, a house, a huge garage with the average two-and-a-half cars inside and two precious young-uns. (Wow! Spellcheck let me get away with that.) We were living the good life. The American Dream. We even had a dog if memory serves me correctly.

“Hi, Mom. What’s up?”

“You better come over because your father doesn’t feel well.”

Forty years later I obvious don’t remember Mom’s exact words, but it was something along those lines. I ran out to the garage and jumped into one of the two-and-a-half cars. I can’t remember if I broke all the speeding laws or just some of them as I raced home. I do remember that we took Dad to St. Joe’s and he never returned.

Six days later the family watched as the numbers on the heart monitor began slowly counting down. Dad was in a coma for five of those days. He was only fifty-five. Mom later said she was thankful for those days because it gave her the much needed time to adjust to his being gone.

What does this have to do with Honey Baby? Mom and Dad had been Christmas shopping earlier that day before he began not to feel well. Honey Baby was the last present he ever bought. Papa loved his two grandchildren. Maybe that’s part of why I love mine so much my heart aches. Maybe that’s why I love my ‘adopted’ grandchildren from church. Yes, Phoebe Grace, I mean you and Phineas and Isaiah and Harper and Walter and all the rest of the young-uns at church. Rosey and Gio, where have you been? I miss you, too.

You can’t tell by reading this on your computer, or other mobile device I’ve yet to figure out, but there was a two-and-a-half minute pause between paragraphs. The tears-that-were-yet-to-fall flooded my old, large-type, three-color keyboard. It’s okay. I have a spare still in the box in the closet of my office.

This part is just for Dad, but I suppose you can read it if you want. It’s 4:30 in the morning and the words are flowing.

I’m sorry for all the pain I might have caused you and I’m thankful for any joy I might have afforded you. I still miss you forty years later, but I have a hope in my heart. That Hope is Jesus Christ. Because of that hope I know we will see each other again someday. None of us know exactly how it all works after we pass from this life, and that’s totally fine with me. I have the faith to sustain me.

P.S. My old keyboard seems to have survived the floofjqr9tukjnb iuhg98d6htjqhgkfhfh……………………….. ……… …. … .. .

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