Just a few days ago my dad, David White, passed from this earthly realm into eternity. I wandered through my mind and memories and penned some of those here in his memory.
I remember snooping through some papers, finding an address, and sending a letter, sure that it would never reach its final intended destination, and not knowing if I really wanted it to or not.
I remember getting a life-changing phone call on a Wednesday night, while my parents were bowling and my grandmother was watching the kids. A man on the phone with an unusual accent.
I remember exchanging letters and calls and pictures.
I remember playing basketball at the corner hoop when a huge station wagon pulled up and five familiar faces piled out for a surprise visit. The first of many “Ice Cream Road Trips.”
I remember the turmoil as I sought to figure out who I was, and whose I was.
I remember that life, my life, began to make more sense, but also became more confusing. I had found answers but still had so many questions.
I remember meeting the love of my life in the midst of the chaos of my life. Another stabilizing force, but an equally confusing development.
I remember how well everyone fit together when all sides of the family gathered.
I remember the questions that continued gnawing in my mind, and the pain they caused.
I remember the years of wandering as I ran from everything, running toward nothing.
I remember the letter that dissected my heart and life after years of trying to shield it.
I remember that you didn’t give up, even when I thought that was what I wanted, needed.
I remember the birth of my son, named in honor of the heritage, and confusion of my past.
I remember another “Ice Cream Trip,” to meet grandchildren, and my in-laws.
I remember our first trip to “home” and discovering more than a slight connection.
I remember the decision to uproot from all that had become familiar and comfortable.
I remember the challenges and difficulties of making our way to where we belonged all along.
I remember hunting trips, and fishing trips, and rides through the mountains.
I remember long talks, and quiet walks.
I remember praying and praising together.
I remember projects and the smell of sawdust in the building.
I remember the head shake when I was messing up, and the smiles when I repented.
I remember football on the tv and food on the table, and laughter in every room.
I remember the pride when I began to follow God’s call in ministry at last.
I remember the sorrow when following that call meant leaving “home” once again.
I remember the church doors of various churches opening more than a few times on Sunday morning at the end of another “Ice Cream Road Trip,” leaving me flustered at the pulpit.
I remember toolboxes in the back of your truck, “Just In Case” — it was almost always the case.
I remember playing “Papaw Truck” with my kids as we traveled the interstates in search of Overnite Trucking rigs.
I remember cards, letters, calls, and pictures, all eventually giving way to digital media and computer e-communication, perhaps for the better, but sometimes at a loss.
I remember advice, assistance, and affirmations as life changed and I faced varied trials.
I remember celebrations, baptisms, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, joy.
I remember illness, cancer–touching so many seemingly all at once in my life.
I remember the assurance of prayer, of faith, of families who love and care.
I remember waiting for word following surgeries and treatments.
I remember calls to Lewis Gale, some answered, some not.
I remember the victories after each battle, and the faith to face the next one.
I remember your hugs, though you could barely get your arms around my at times, you always managed to.
I remember the call that your days were numbered, and the greatest victory would soon be yours.
I remember the sound of your voice, the grip of your hand, and the smile on your face less than a week ago.
I remember the call that you had left this earthly dwelling, bound for something indescribable.
I remember, and those memories bring smiles, sometimes tears, but always gratitude.
I remember, and I thank God for those memories.
I will miss you Pops. I will still wait for the doors to the church to swing open on Sunday. I will still wait for the warmth of that loving embrace in your hugs. I will still wait for the wry smile to cross your face when you got one of those ideas. I will still wait for morning coffee, and trips to the store together before anyone else was up.