Friday, January 28, 2011

Going Home

Today we're back in Pennsylvania, but it's a sad trip. We're saying one last goodbye to a man that has been a constant and steady part of my life for the past thirty years, my Pa. Last friday Pa peacefully passed away, going Home to be with our Ma and so many other beloved family members that have since passed away.

Of course I have so many memories of him that are meaningful to me; experiences that we shared over the past 30 years. A Pa that was my babysitter while his girls went out for the day and a Pa that came to school for lunch, when my mom and dad couldn't leave work. A Pa that sat through every single piano and dance recital, choir concert and musical, always with a smile. A Pa that planted us our very own apple tree in his orchard and gathered Chinese chestnuts for the kids to sell. A Pa that shot hoops out on the magic square and played in the jungle underneath the weeping willow. A Pa that enjoyed making jam and always had a sweet treat to share.

While all of those moments are sacred and special, mostly when I think about Pa I find myself lingering on the stories that I wasn't a part of; stories of a young man that was so foreign to the Pa that I knew, but still so very similar. I dream about Gene the student who walked the same streets while in college at Penn State that I walked so many years later. I dream about the day Gene Master came to town, the day a young Marian canceled her plans to meet up with him. I draw up visions of a handsome young soldier aboard a Navy ship and then a spirited coach, on the sidelines of the track. I wonder about him as brother playing in the fields so close to his home I know. And I so badly wish I knew more about him as the dad who drove his daughter and her college friends home for a Sunday family dinner. There are so many things I will never know about my Pa's life, so many questions I never asked. But there is one thing I do know for sure - I never met a person who didn't think my Pa was a good guy. I don't think that person exists.

Having been diagnosed with his illness while we were traveling back from Guatemala, I was very happy to arrive at home to spend some time with him after a long time away. My Pa has always been a conservative man, not thrilled about trying new things or traveling to far away places, so our going to Guatemala was always a bit unsettling to him. A phone call every now and again helped to keep his worries at bay. I really would have loved to have him come and visit us there because then maybe he could have seen why we loved it so much instead of just hearing stories. In our conversations he was always very interested in the differences between life in Guatemala and life in the US. I just know that after he got over his apprehensions, he would have really appreciated the culture and understood it better.

Sadly, I don't have many photos of Pa on my computer, but I did do have my very favorite of the two of us together. It's a four part series taken at our wedding. I like how together all four photos capture the moment perfectly. I often wish I could go back to that day for many reasons, but today it's mostly so I can see my Pa smile again as we danced under the moonlight.

For thirty years you were the best Pa a girl could ask for.
I've loved you always, and always will.

In loving memory
M. Gene Master
7.17.1927 - 1.21.2011


gramv said...

Lovely tribute, Krista. I'm so glad the wedding dance pictures showed up in this post. I remember how proud your grandpa was that night!

Natalie said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Pa. I have tears in my eyes. Cherish your memories forever.