Remember when we had the hot dog roast in the front of the big, 100-year-old farmhouse? You sat in a lawn chair. I came behind you and hugged your neck. Dad snapped our picture. I was only nine. I wish you were here now.
I want to hear you tell how to make blood sausage. I want to learn about the farm you grew up on and worked on for so long. I want to hear from you about the Mason organization, if you’re allowed to even discuss a secret society. I want to be told about the poor children who didn’t own shoes, and you bought them some. Will you come back and tell me about being a councilman? Or how you felt about going to church on Sundays? I heard from Mammaw the story of how you met. I wonder what you would say about the day you first saw her.
Remember when we went to Holiday World and rode in the tube down the “raging rapids”? You got soaked. I thought it was so funny. Remember watched Jeopardy when the “Bible” was a category? You were impressed when I knew the answer to every question. I glowed under the warmth of your praise. I was never hungry at your house, never felt I was in the way, and always had control of the TV. You were wonderful, caring, and fun. I wish you were still here. I wish you could meet Thomas. He reminds me sometimes of you—so easy-going, loving, giving.
I guess I wish I had known you better. There was never enough time. Never a long enough visit from Germany, never enough nights to sleep over, never enough moments to linger on the porch.
I can’t see a wheat field or a cornfield without thinking of you. At your funeral, Dad handed me a red rose and…a stalk of wheat. I hadn’t cried until that moment. Somehow all that emotion locked away, waiting for its moment. Dad’s arms engulfed me, and together we mourned you.
I wish you were still here. I had too much more to say.