Pops, it's been 13 years, but even so, you're still here.
Martin, who was only 5 when you died, turns a funny phrase or makes a ridiculous pun and I reply, “Ooooooh, good one, George.” He writes a beautiful, well-composed story for class and I tell him that talent is a gift from me because of you, and your father, and four more generations back.
William, who didn’t arrive until three years after you died, lets out one of his pane-breaking belches, and I reply, “Really, George?” Then I grin and challenge him with “I’ll fight ya’ for the green pieces.”
William has your eyes – round and full of mischief. Martin has your mouth, in more ways than one. Your photos grace our walls and tabletops. We have your scrapbook. I talk about you often.
I want my boys to know you as much as they can, even though you aren’t here. Not only because you’re my father and their grandfather, but because you were so full of integrity, objectivity, honesty, clarity … because you always did the right thing, no matter what.
From me, they’ll learn what an absent-minded, impossible, fallible, funny, brilliant father you were. From the stories that others wrote about you, they’ll learn what a curious, ethical, steadfast, veracious man you were.
We miss you down here, Dad. Don’t be a stranger.
Here are the stories that ran about my father, George L. Thurston III, in January and March of 2001 in the Tallahassee Democrat: http://bit.ly/1jeo22c.