We always kidded him about his fascination with the Andy Griffith show's Mayberry lifestyle. He seemed out of place, several eras behind in our fast-paced, modern world. He needed a town where he could sit for hours on a rambling front porch, sipping iced tea with neighbors, reading, and talking to strangers passing by, telling stories and laughing at his own jokes, eyes twinkling crystal blue. He needed an old shop in a quaint downtown where people traded goods or services for merchandise and life didn't revolve around money and people didn't lock their doors or check their availability for dinner on their cell phones.
He owned a cell phone for all of a few months. To this day, I still have his number in my phone, unable to delete "Papa" from my contacts just yet. Maybe I'm not ready to delete the precious few traces of him that remain tangible.
The blue, hand painted chest I bought to hold treasures of him rests against a wall in the living room, piled with things we don't have space to store. Inside, his lefty baseball glove, cards I made him since I was a little girl, the memorial service program, a favorite picture of him, condolence cards, an empty canister of his favorite tea, notes he'd slip into my lunch bag with stick figure pictures of him, a sack of cashews purchased from an older man in Guatemala who reminded me of him, his reading glasses, a pocket knife, a book he gave me for Christmas scrawled on the inside cover with his handwriting and heartfelt words. More remnants of him.
Mom and I began a new Father's day tradition. We get out of the city for the weekend, leave sad memories behind, drive out to a small town that Papa loved and relax in a quaint bed and breakfast. We hop a ferry boat and travel to a small island for the day, fresh salted wind streaming around our faces, capturing memories in digital camera. We remember him. We miss him. We continue to love him. And we continue to live as fully as we can.