So my Pops died last year. I say this because since that day my sister called to tell me our life was about to change forever; my life has changed forever. I don't know if I consciously thought about my dad when he was alive as much as I consider him now that he is gone - which seems like a secret I should keep to myself but it's the truth. I carry a button of his sweet face with me in my purse. I never had a button before. I saved his last voicemail to me. I always deleted them before, sometimes without listening. The day before he died he texted me - thanking me for pictures I sent of Sister, Clayton, the boys and me on our vacation together. I savor his words like they are poetry. When I pray, I pray as if God and Pops are listening which might be against the rules but I like to think he is interpreting my prayers, reframing them into something a little less selfish and a little more useful. I tell stories the way my dad told stories. Over Christmas I told the story of Exodus to a friend who apparently had never heard of Moses, Pharaoh or the parting of the Red Sea (I know, right?). I told the story the way my Pops told it to me - with real language, lots of humor sprinkled with a few cuss words. She was thoroughly engrossed in the story. I felt like my dad when I told the story. I would have never attributed my storytelling style to him when he was alive.
My Pops connected me to the world in way I never appreciated - until now. He connected me to a side of me that was not always celebrated. "You are just like your father!" was not meant as a compliment growing up. The Praise Jesus side of me. The loud clapping at a sporting event side of me. The moaning while eating - in true and utter appreciation of delicious food side of me. The falling-out, whole body laughing side of me. The bold, in your face, speak now or forever hold your peace side of me.
Of course Pops was no Saint and if you knew him for longer than 20 minutes you are nodding your head. But he was a proud black Christian man who taught me how to be a proud black Christian woman. He lives in my storytelling and the shaking of my head. He lives in my gorgeous brown skin and thick kinky hair. He lives in my loud voice and infectious laughter. He lives in my desperate prayers and in my doubt. He lives in my Lord have mercy and in my sighs.
Lori Ann! (he would say loudly). I love you. Do you hear me?
Yes Pops (the whole world could hear him)
I love you. Don't you forget that. And love those boys!
Those words were spoken every time we talked on the phone. Why didn't I know that until now?
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Lori Ann Dinkins
One blog at a time, I write the truth about my life as it is, as I hope it will be, as I wish it would have been. Business insights and personal triumphs. Thank you for joining me.