I am so sad today. It seems so sudden, but it’s not. Sudden because I live in Las Vegas and he in Oklahoma, making it hard to visit my father’s side of the family frequently. Flights from Vegas to Oklahoma on Southwest, on average are $700 round trip two weeks in advance (which I just don’t understand why getting OUT of Vegas cost a pretty penny, however, getting here is not nearly as much.) His health has gone down over the past year and, fortunately, the family has been able to prepare. We received a shocking call this morning.
My dad is the oldest of many siblings with Robert Sr. being the second. It’s crazy how much they all look-alike. It’s also funny how differently we were raised. My cousins are from the country, sounding and behaving like it; we are true products of the West Coast and Vegas. They laughed at us a lot and we laughed at them right back, mainly because of how different we sounded when we all talked.
My mother, his mother, and my other aunt married brothers and were pregnant at the same time with their children. My sister Carri, then cousin Arlena, me, then my brother, cousin Renthy (Orenthal – yes, in honor of OJ Simpson. It was the 70s), and Cousin Freddie are all the same age. We were stair steps. We grew up so close. They would come to Vegas for a few days, then we would head to Los Angeles and Oakland to visit more family, go to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sea World, Lion Country Safari, and the beach. We would head back to Oklahoma for family reunions during the summer, only to be eaten alive by bugs. We were “deceived” about dinner being “chicken” when it was really rabbit, catfish, and frog legs caught earlier in the day by my dad and uncles to go along side some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten in my entire life coated with my Uncle Chief’s homemade BBQ sauce (he never did share the recipe.)
Which equates to a lot of the problem. Poor eating habits. I don’t ever recall eating a vegetable while in Oklahoma over the years. No salad, fruit, water… mainly, pop or something fried or grilled. My parents didn’t seem to mind because it was only for a short amount of time then back to our regular healthy West Coast diet and some form of exercise on a regular basis.
My point is to take better care of ourselves. He was too young to pass in such a way. Now he will miss his children’s graduations, weddings, and grandchildren –although he was lucky enough to meet one “little Miss Shuga Foot.” She is really going to miss out on how funny her Paw Paw was… I know I already do.