Sunday, September 2, 2007

That will be the return to yourself

If you want, then start to laugh.
If you must, then start to cry.
Be yourself, don't hide.
Just believe in destiny.

Don't care what people say,
Just follow your own way.
Don't give up and lose the chance,
Your return to innocence.

That's not the beginning of the end,
That's a return to yourself,
A return to innocence.

When it's the year 1996 or 1997 and you're a college student living with your grandfather in Tucson, AZ, the above sounds great. It sounds spiritual. It sounds inspirational. And it sounds very gay, but gay is cool in the soutwhest in the mid 90s, so no harm no foul. In fact, it's a great way to get the girlies! Weird, eh? (I mean nothing against my gay friends reading this, I'm just calling it like it is.. er was.. or whatever)


When I was a very young child, Joey's age and younger, someone was always there for me. My grandma Kelley, aka Kerney. She passed away in.. hmm.. 1983? Yeah, I think that was the year. Maybe '82. Either way, she was too young to die and I was too young to deal with it. But there was someone else to help. Who else was there? Grandpa! (by the way, look at Emma and you see Kerney)

Lloyd Miller Kelley was almost like a third father to me. Jim Thomason will always be my second father, but Lloyd Kelley will always be my third father. (For what it's worth I adopted a 4th father in 2004 when I married into the Gambill family. Linn Gambill is a wonderful man who I'm proud to call my father-in-law.)

After my grandmother died, Grandpa was there to help me get through it.

When I was 5, we made our first "summer trip" via plane to LA. We saw my Aunt Jerrie (Brat Aunt) and Uncle Al (Owl) who lived in West Covina at the time. We also saw my Aunt Patti & family who lived in Orange County at the time.

When I was 6, we made our second "summer trip," this time via car to Florida.

When I was 7, we made our third "summer trip." This time back to LA, via Tucson (car not plane). At this time, my mother began to ask the question, "Where are you going next year?"

It became an annual thing for Grandpa and me to go somewhere. Usually Florida or LA.

I really loved driving to LA via Carlsbad, NM and/or Tucson, AZ.

Oh God, Grandpa, why do you have to leave me?

I used to like to remind him that if he lived to be 100, I'd be 50.

Then the 90s came around. I became, as he loved to put it, a "hairy-legged teenager" and no longer had such an interest in hanging out with Grandpa.

In 1991, Grandpa left the crapass climate of STL and went to Tucson.

In the summer of 1992 I came to visit him in Tucson, and stayed for most of the summer. It was a great summer. I had a lot of fun.

I also came out to visit him and the Caids (his wife's family) in 1993, 1994, and 1995. In 1996, after I graduated high school, I moved to Tucson with him. In 1998, I moved back to St. Louis. Homesick.


There's the short version of the story.

I'll be going to Tucson this week, despite Andy's problems and despite the fact that I won't be able to pay my bills because of my unpaid time off work to make said trip.

When all is said and done, Grandpa will be sent back here to St. Louis to be buried in Jefferson Barracks. (He was a hardass Marine in WW2 who was injured at the battle of Saipan, but that's a story for another day.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry now.


Annoyed said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hang in there. They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle.

Anonymous said...

Biggest of hugs pumpkin... We both know how much you adored him, and quite honestly we adore him through your stories! Please, whenever you need to , or feel like it, share more about him! He is such a big part of you, we know there are thousands of cool stories!! And please remember, we are both still right here for anything you or Julia or the kids need!!! We love you very very very much!