While I pack my camp gear
I try hard to imagine what you would say
I was missing, something I wouldn't
Even know I forgot until I needed it.
You would probably like my tent,
I think, as Ann and I practice
Putting it up and taking it down
At least once or twice, to prepare.
Here in the front yard, it seems
Like a futile excersise, but I know
You would agree with the theory.
I sometimes still think as I push open
The garage door, I will see your hand
Outstretched, palm out.
I wait to hear you call my name,
To greet me with that excitement in your voice.
And maybe a tiny bit of resentment
That it had been two or three days since the last visit.
You would probably ask for a can of gasoline.
I never did, but now, I would probably ask you
To share your can of Skoal. I wish
We would have done that, when we still could.
I wish we would have gone camping.
I know you were tired, and ready to go-- to be honest.
I know I would have selfishly pushed you through it,
But on the other end, we would have both been better,
And I'd have had a few more memories to hold onto.
I wish you would have met my wife. She only knows
The picture of you at Jason's wedding
That I haven't decided where to hang quite yet.
I know it's never long enough,
But in your case, it really wasn't.
All these people that have come along
Like your great-gandson, who shares your name--
I wonder if he would call you Pappaw--
Or later on if he would spell it like
I do, or with an L, or like mom does--
All these people now in our lives,
And those not yet arrived,
Would not hope to be here, were it not for you.
We would not be who we are without your love.
And they owe your thier happiness, as we do
Though they have never met you.