Today, my parallel shoppers were an old couple--probably in their seventies. I knew they were there, but didn't really look at them until we were 2/3rds of the way through the store. I made some gamely comment about our tour of duty and they both laughed and made a quick reply. It was then that I really took notice. The woman didn't really remind me of my Grandma, except she was sweet and smelled good, but the man? He looked so much like my Grandpa, that I gasped and had to stop my cart. His silvery white hair was thick and combed neatly into place. He was tall and barrel chested, and when he smiled, his eyes got all squinty behind his large, squarish glasses.
Realizing he was a total stranger and would have thought I was a bit of a nut if I ran up to him and hugged him tightly around the waist, I forced myself to walk on. But then, as I stood looking blindly at the spices, tears stung my eyes and I wished he was my Papa.
Papa was the most celestial man I've ever known. Everyone loved him. . . I mean everyone, because he loved us. One could not resist his warm smile and kind words. He was six stories high and had a booming voice to match. My mom says he was a perfect father and I believe it. I wish so much that my children could have known him, could have felt him sing (yes, you heard and felt his beautiful bass voice), could have been tossed up on his shoulder like a "sack of sugar" and could have heard him proclaim to the world that they are the prettiest/funniest/most talented creature that ever walked the face of the earth.
So, thank you to my grocery store companions for reminding me of a man I love dearly. Today I am thinking about, loving, and missing