Poppa

Poppa's OrnamentThis ornament hangs on our tree every year in memory of my Poppa, Maurice John McInnis. I miss him every day, but at Xmas most of all.
 
When I think of Poppa I think of golf, whiskers & trousers. I think about the way he always kept his glasses in his top pocket in a soft leather holder I used to stroke when he’d cuddle me. I think about the way he would tease me as a little girl, carrying a handbag – how he joked that he wished he had a handbag too.
 
I remember his laugh, how it would crack, half pitched & high in the middle. How his eyes would water when the laughter really took him – the same way my Mum’s eyes do when she laughs.
 
I think about Poppa’s finely manicured lawn that he tended daily & trimmed with scissors if ever there was a blade out-of-place. The feel of that lawn under my bare feet when we would visit in the summer – no matter where he & Gran lived a beautiful lush, green lawn adorned each home.
 
I think about the way Gran called him ‘Johnny’ & he called her ‘Love’. How they had matching recliners with lace doilies Gran hand-made for each one. I remember him in that recliner watching Port Adelaide Football club play on TV – a-top the TV was a model ship – filled with his gold coin change that he put there to save for something he might put in his shed.
 
In Poppa’s shed was homemade Draught beer with a light box he built himself to keep the temperature steady as it brewed. That shed, always neat & tidy & filled with gardening tools. Poppa’s tomatoes were the pride of the family – sweet, juicy, ripe & red. Every year we were treated to fresh ham & tomato sandwiches, homemade sauce & Gran’s tomato relish. I think about how much I miss those tomatoes & watching him in his hat tending to the plants.
 
Poppa loved to fish. He loved to laugh. He loved to garden & he loved his family. He was a proud man – he was gentle & he was the kind of man you met & his soft voice lingered. I think people liked Poppa – he was a gentleman & a hero to my brother. He had a temper – but it was rare & purposeful. I never saw it.
 
I don’t think Poppa ever knew how much we all loved him & how much his impression would linger. But it has & it does.
 
That ornament was given to me by Gran the year Poppa died. Every year I put that ornament on my tree & I think of him. I miss him & I smile – I hear his laughter in the house & I think, I hope, that maybe he knows how much he is missed, how much he is loved, so many years later. My Poppa.

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