“I start each day with a cup of coffee…”
“How much coffee do you drink each day Mr. Browning?” the nurse asked. Daddy smiled and replied, “I start each day with a cup of coffee.” As the nurse wrote his response, daddy said, “Then, I finish the pot.” He was so proud of himself. Daddy was a heart patient that didn’t believe that he should have been deprived of coffee. Humor was his way of getting around the doctor’s orders. When he found this coffee cup inspired flower pot, he brought it to my house for us to take his picture for his doctor. After being a heart patient for 16 years, Daddy had developed quite the relationships with his cardiologist and nurses.
We learn from our parents, the good and the bad. My sense of humor and story-telling came from Daddy. He was born in the south when times were hard. Picking cotton was a way of life for everyone. Granny Grace always said they didn’t have much but they were clean. His childhood had some hard twists and turns that would make for an intense Lifetime movie. In the 1960’s, he was drafted and served in Korea during the Vietnam war. After his return, he moved to Chicago as there were better jobs and opportunities. Hard work, determination, and great sense of humor moved him through this life.
We all have stuff. Hard childhoods, poverty, broken families are fairly common for most folks. We can let it keep us there in misery or drive us from it. Daddy was determined to move forward. Despite all of his “stuff”, he loved to laugh and make others laugh. I think I may have inherited a touch of that from him.
I was digging through some of his paperwork yesterday as I was finally selling his truck. It’s been over two years since he went to Glory. In the paperwork, I found the coffee cup picture. It’s weird how grief works. I wanted to sell the truck. We didn’t need the truck. However, I choked up after it was gone. Guilt seems to go hand in hand with grief for me. I felt like I was getting rid of a piece of him…again. All night, I wrestled with all the memories.
As I am writing this, I can hear him. He would listen when I had a problem. He let me talk it all out and sympathized with me. Then, he would tell me not to let it keep me down and to move on past it. Typically, he would then bust up into one of his crazy antics that he and his animals had done and have me laughing.
I am glad I haven’t forgotten the stories and the laughter that he shared. Humor has been my way of getting through hard days. What’s the old saying, “you can either laugh or cry.” Laughing feels better. I call “crying” “snotting”. Because, seriously, my snot runs before my tears. It’s never pretty. I am an ugly “snotter.” Laughter most definitely looks better on me.
Today, I will choose laughter and joy. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 Today, I will remind myself that Daddy is hanging out with the Father to the fatherless. His legacy is living on. I have his humor and his joy for teaching Sunday School. My daughter, Shelby has started a plant business. Anyone that knew him, knew he was the ultimate gardener. And his truck just went to a young Christian college student that’s in the military. I know he would be proud.
If there is coffee in Heaven, Daddy is sipping it overlooking his garden. I am sure his smile is bigger there than it was here.