Papa Jack was the definition of anchor to me. I witnessed this hundreds of times, sitting at that same kitchen table, listening to his stories of life, going to war, raising kids and grandkids, raising animals and farming. I met him in his later years, after the intensity of life had settled a little and his gentle wisdom had risen to the surface to be shared with anyone who would join him at the table for a cuppa coffee.
Light up – every single time I walked into his home. Papa would greet me (and anyone else who we had brought along with us) with a smile, a gentle nod and the first words from his mouth were always “well hello!” It was as if the surprise of showing up had instantly improved his day.
He listened. This is the funniest part because he told me several times that it was a good thing I was cute because he couldn’t hear a word I said! But somehow, I’m sure he heard it all. You see he would listen closely and ask a few questions but rarely ever told us what to do. He would often say “well I know you will figure it out, you always do.” Or he would make us laugh with a witty comment such as “they will probably get over it and if they don’t, well I guess they’ll be mad a long time.”
When we left, promising to visit again soon he would give us a hug and say, “thanks for coming, come again when you can.”