Pap Jones was quite the man. He lived a hard life, and he pushed others into leading a hard life, too. He was not known to be the most compassionate or fair person, and he wasn't known to have the best temper in the world (quite the opposite). The way he treated his children was really rather harsh and cruel from what I've heard. He was very religious, and perhaps this had something to do with it, or maybe this was just adopted as a way to justify the means. I don't know. What I do know, however, is that as a child, there were times with him that were very good.
I can remember sitting on his knees while he'd sing some little ditty and bounce his grandchildren up and down until we'd fall off. This was extraordinarily fun as a child. He'd always be playing some sort of musical instrument, and he'd always have some way of singing something that was hilarious and we'd request it over and over again...oh, how I'm sure he tired of playing the same tunes to us...yet, he always did. He was good with jokes, and he always knew something to say to make you laugh when he really wanted to.
These were the good things that I like to remember about him. I'd be lying if I were going to say that they are the majority of my memories about him. I'd always be lying if I said that I didn't have to dig quite a bit to remember a lot of good times with him...I often do. There are just some things that are said at times that really take such a strong hold on young minds. In the end, I think he was very much at conflict with himself and life. I don't know anything about his childhood. I don't know how he was raised or what happened to him when he was young. What I do know is that a man with such differing personalities from one period to the next has to be a man who suffered within himself.
It's not my place to judge, I can only recall events and how they made me feel. But, I was lucky that I got to see him one last time after years and years of not seeing him. I went to visit him in the hospital. The first day I saw him, he wasn't doing so well. The next day, he was really back to a cognitive state. He knew who I was. He knew I came in to see him. He held my hand and I held his. He squeezed my hand. He winked at me...he was always a winker. At that moment, the harshness that I had felt for so many years went away. And, although I didn't say it to him (for I believe it was understood as much by him as it was by me), there was love there between a grandfather and his grandson.
Wherever you are now...wherever your energy has gone, Little Pap, I hope you are content, and I hope you find your way. You were a strong man in this life, and you showed that all the way up until your dying day. Thank you for the memories.