My second daddy died today. We called him Big Ernie. I met him when I was in Jr. High. He was my best friend's dad. I think I was at their house more than my own at times. I grew up with his sarcasm, his tough outer exterior and softy interior. He cussed in front of me and watched tv shows like "Silk Stalkings". Complete opposite of my own dad.
He's had a bad heart since I met him. He lost a ton of weight in the first year he was a part of my life. "Mama" made sure he ate right. I don't know how many times he salivated over our food as she served him his portion and he said "that's IT?". He would shrug his shoulders and dig in. He worked hard for his family and retired a few years ago from Civil Service.
He was hard on us when we screwed up. He had THE LOOK. Many have imitated, but no one NO ONE will ever do it the way he did. All he had to do was look over the rim of his glasses and hold up his finger. He never had to say a word. We froze in fear as kids (and as adults a few times too) and so did all of our kids when they went to visit Papa.
We called him "Old Man" as a joke. He was far from old, and always young at heart. He wore his hair long and gray. Longer than mine. He appreciated a good joke, the dirtier the better and told them often. As an older teen, he was my go-to guy for a good joke. He read Playboy. He loved a beautiful firearm and was an NRA instructor.
He was fair. Family arguments were met with him throwing up his hands in the air and the call of "I'm going to bed", and when we stayed up to late, he came down the hall and told us it was time to "pack it in".
I miss him. So many memories of a man that has been a part of my life constantly for the past 25 years.
Rest in peace, Ernie. I love you and you'll always be in my heart.