Tag Archives: Softy

It’s My Birthday Too!

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It’s My Birthday Too!

Dear Softy,

You’ve been gone for 13 years now… and I still think of you every single day. But especially on our day. On our day, I sing the Beatles and miss you like crazy.

I’m afraid I don’t sing it quite the same way, but hey, I sing it to you!

Most years I cry. But the tears aren’t as awful as they used to be. The hole is still deep in my heart, but I’ve learned to smile when I miss you.

I wish I had more pictures of us together. I wish I had more pictures of you. There are never enough memories when you cross my mind.

Last year was probably the worst year of my life. I hope nothing ever tops it. I was scared most days. I thought any moment everything was going to implode. I worried about my daughters. I worried about my sons. I worried about my marriage. And I worried about the strain our troubles were taking on the entire family. I could feel the sorrow every time I talked with my mom or my dad and it just made my heart ache.

So many times I thought about you. I just know you would of had the perfect words of wisdom to get me through the rock bottom of my existence.

There were days when I tried to channel your voice and give myself a pep talk.

The other night I had this dream. You will still here. My step-dad too. And I was talking to both of you. And I was listening to you tell me you’d been here each day. You were telling me all about the things I’d been through, just to prove you were never far away. I woke up feeling your presence. In fact, I was calling your name out loud.

Sometimes I get those dreams and I see you and I don’t even want to get out of bed because I don’t want to lose that moment. But I have to get up. These kids will knock the walls down if I’m not watching carefully.

You know 40 started off rough, but it sure did turn around. I’m finally finishing college. I know, it took me a few decades. That’s ok. The more amazing thing is that I’m a writer. A real bonafide cash-the-check writer!

And my kids are doing amazing things. Blondie got married and her dreams are slowly coming true. My Dyl Pickle is graduating. And the rest of the crew is moving right along. Tucker is going to high school. I always wish you had seen him just once. I still think of you in the hospital that last night I saw you. You said “wee Willy Tucker, that silly little f—–fellow.” He was born 41 days after you passed on. I’m not sure how my dad came up with the exact same sentence, but he did. Isn’t that ironic?

Trenton is headed to Junior High which will make the twins the rulers of intermediate school- big fifth graders! And KK is only one step behind, but you know all this, because you’re still here. I know you’re here.

When I feel like breaking down, I say to myself “Girl get yourself together. Softy is gonna see you fall apart” and that’s how I pick myself up when the days are overwhelming.

41 is going to be amazing, I just know it is. Whether I’m conquering the world wide web or tucking my grandbaby into bed, I know you’re part of me and I never let that go.

Birthday Buddies

My grandfather and I at our last birthday dinner

And now when I think of our birthday, I smile more than I cry. You were the greatest gift the good Lord ever gave me. Grandfathers have a way of making the world magical, and you did exactly that.

So Happy Birthday Softy. I still miss you, but today I’m gonna try not to cry, because it’s my birthday too!

Love always,
Tiffany XoXoX

The Prince and the Showgirl and Me

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The Prince and the Showgirl and Me

When I was 9 years old I remember going to our beach house with my grandfather. It was a special place- built by my Great Grandfather. He called it a fishing shack- a place to spend the day out on the bay on a boat named “The Finnegan Jethro” stringing together enough fish for a feast. (I just realized I’ve always wanted to know where that name came from, and the person I would most like to ask is no longer here). It was a bit musty with paint peeling from the boards that fastened together a two room cabin- but that simple little house could somehow sleep 40 people. Fancy furnishings of the 1960s scattered here and there showed that my grandmother had once tried to put her upper-class decorating spin on the place, and hence the shack was transformed into “the beach house”. Still, it was decorated with little people made out of seashells and googly eyes and strings of coke tabs folded into chains to hold back curtains and hang plants. I can picture my great-grandmother gluing those funny little eyes on her seashell finds of the day.

There’s a story in here somewhere that I really wanted to tell, but the more I type about my great-grandparents (Daddy ‘O and Mama Jimmie) and my grandparents (Softy and Robbie Doll), the more I’m overwhelmed by memories of just how special these people were and how lucky I was to be raised in such a family of jokesters, fishermen, poker players, magicians and fancy decorators.

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Two Pieces of Pie

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It’s been quite a week here in the zoo! Partly because today is my birthday, and I’ve been celebrating all week long. I often get the birthday blues because I shared my birthday with my grandfather for 27 years. Losing him still stings like a swarm of bees straight to the heart.

My life is chaotic. I spend half my time hoping he’s up there watching me, and the other half praying he didn’t see that… you know the moments- the ones where the house is gross and the kids are grosser, or when I forget to hold my tongue, the days when I accomplish nothing. How many times do I say to myself: “If Softy were here, he’d know what I should do…”? Read the rest of this entry

For the 11th Time….

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Well folks, it happened! I turned thirty-something for the very last time. April the 9th, the day that made me who I am. Seriously, so much of me has been entwined in the particular day on which I was born. I was expected in May, but that would have made me a Taurus. Not that I’m all hung up on Astrology, but I am slightly entertained by it. I could never be a Taurus because they are practical and they like regularity. I was meant to be an Aries…. the Ram is fiery, bossy, determined, and, well, they can’t be wrong. Yeah, that’s more me. Always right! (Or so I think….) Read the rest of this entry

Welcome to the World

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The other day was my birthday…. and I’ll tell you, I’m officially 38 years old! I hear a lady doesn’t tell her age, but I’m proud to be this old. When I turn 40, there will be no black balloons, no tombstones, no sad faces… Sure, I’d love to go back to the 15 year old figure I once sported that lacked gray hair or fine lines, but where’s the character in that?  I earned every single one of these gray hairs, including the three I plucked out last week.

Getting older doesn’t bother me, but another year without my birthday buddy, that makes me sad. This year, instead of the flood of tears, I tried to hear his jokes in everything I said or did. It kind of helped. OK, there were still some tears. I believe some people touch our lives so deeply and there is no real recovery from that loss. The hole never heals, you just learn to function with a gaping wound in your heart. My grandfather was that man.

Our last dinner at Loma Linda's

Our last dinner at Loma Linda’s

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In my dreams…

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My grandpa always promised that he would visit me in my dreams when he died, so I can’t help but think every time I dream of him that he’s here for a little visit. I find it strangely comforting. It doesn’t happen as often as I wish it would, but the other morning I was feeling bad and after I took the kids to school I laid back down in my bed and pulled my down comforter up over my head. Before long, he was standing there.

This dream was pretty strange though, because I had two grandpa’s growing up. I guess most people have two grandpa’s, but usually it’s Mom’s dad and Dad’s dad. I had my mom’s dad and my step-mom’s dad because my dad lost his parents when he was really young. So I was lucky that I got an extra grandpa in there somewhere. Both of them were very charismatic people, well-loved by all who knew them. I was really close to my mom’s dad. I named him “Softy” when I was 8-years-old and that turned into the name everyone called him, and I was born on his birthday, which was really special. My other grandpa, Grandpa Smith, owned the Salado Dairy Queen and he spoiled us with ice cream all the time. They both died within about a year of one another, so I haven’t had a grandpa in a long time. In this dream, my mom wanted a drink from Salado Dairy Queen, but she didn’t want to get out of her car, so I went in to get it and when I came back out, I told my mom “we can get a free drink, this is still my grandpa’s Dairy Queen”. The mention of that grandpa reminded me how much I missed Softy, and then all of a sudden he was there, but here’s the strange part. He was holding a brochure. In it the question was asked “How much are you still here?” Read the rest of this entry

You Say It’s Your Birthday, Well….

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It’s my birthday too! Funny how the older we get the faster these birthdays sneak up on us. I love birthdays, I’ve always loved birthdays. I love birthdays so much I don’t even lie about my age. Today, I’m the big 3-0! (Plus 6). If I can, I will mark your day with some kind of fanfare, whether it be Birthday Pancakes or Birthday Dinner or a special cake or a fantastic party, I’ll do my best to make sure your day is celebrated in some way and if I can manage a surprise, well, surprises are my favorite part! Those Christmas Eve jitters every kid goes to bed with on December 24th always hit me as I closed my eyes on April the 8th because I just couldn’t wait for our special day.

April the 9th, 1976 – Retired Lt. Col Wesley Pyle was celebrating his 40th birthday in Hawaii when his very first granddaughter decided to make her debut into this world a month early. I’d like to tell you I did that on purpose. I knew he would need a special bond with me, and that I would need him even more. Don’t ask me how I knew this in utero, but I did. And for 27 years, we shared our birthday in fantastic ways.

The little cabin my great grandparents built.
It stood the test of time until Hurricane Ike...

Every now and then our birthday falls on Easter or Easter Weekend, and as a kid we spent these birthdays in Port Bolivar, digging up seashells and crabbing off the jetty’s. On my 16th birthday, he took me to take my driver’s test, and then I drove us to James Coney Island for lunch. We shared a many a birthdays over enchiladas at his favorite restaurant, Loma Linda’s in Houston.

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And on July 1, 2003, our days together did just that. I called him on the phone, and said “you’ve made my life so very special” and moments later he was gone. I was told that my name was the last thing he said before asking the angels to hurry up and take him, and to this day that breaks my heart with such a mixture of joy and pain that its completely indescribable. I guess the pain is partly because he is gone, and mostly because I couldn’t be there to hear those last words in person. I live about 3 hours away from Houston, and I was on bed-rest with preeclampsia when his final day commenced. I will forever regret that my hand was not holding his at that very moment. The words of James Taylor fill my heart. “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end, I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, But I always thought that I’d see you again…”

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Some Say I’m a Dreamer….

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I’m one of those people who listens carefully to her dreams. They are often vivid tangled stories that make me wish I could devote 10 hours a day to letting them play out. A few years ago I started writing them down in this journal so that maybe someday my children will read it and I hope it brings them entertainment at the least: laughter, joy, insight, and the courage to believe in their dreams. I’ve dreamed many foretelling dreams and had a few encounters that might be unbelievable to some, scary to others, but to me, they have given me the strangest comfort. I’m glad I’m a dreamer!

Dreams warned me that my great-grandmother, my grandfather, and his friend Carolyn were about to pass away. (Separate dreams, years apart.) Dreams told me I was pregnant days before any drug store test could prove it. In fact with Dyl Pickles, I had the funniest dream that I was taking a shower, in my dad’s house, and my step-sister Amy was in the bathroom with me. (We are the same age, so it wasn’t uncommon for us to get ready to go places at the same time, sharing the bathroom.) It was like we were teenagers again. I was in the shower bathing and suddenly my belly button popped out. I knew what it meant, that I had a baby inside me, but still I tried my hardest to put in back in, even soliciting my sisters help. When the belly button refused to cooperate, I looked at her and said “I’m pregnant”, just then I woke up and looked over at my husband and said “I’m pregnant?” He couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. But sure enough, 2 days later, I confirmed what my dream had told me…

Before my grandfather passed away he promised to visit us in dreams. It’s amazing to me how many stories my family members have shared about his visits. Once I dreamed that I had this baby girl, but he had to take her back to heaven, because there were other babies that needed me. He told me I was going to have to take care of my sister’s babies long before I knew it was going to be true. Long before she even had a little girl, he came to me in a dream and placed her in my arms. I can’t tell you how much that dream guided the decisions I have made over the last year.

April always brings to me thoughts of him. I remember a few years ago. I had a Lotus, flip phone. Sometimes when I would text it would predict the next words I was gonna say so I could just click “arrow, arrow” and my sentence would pop up. It was especially useful if I were texting lots of people about the same event (because I hate sending mass texts) . Or if I was sending a text like “I love you” I would type “I love” and “you” would pop right up. The only catch is that it only guessed things that had been previously texted. Unlike smart phones that take a guess based on your spelling, it used past messages to predict future ones.  Make sense?

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