The title to this post is actually one of my favorite quotes from my Father-in-law. He used it once to give someone directions. If you knew my father-in-law and were schooled in the Cajun language, the directions to "Make like you are going to Walmart ... but don't" would make perfect sense to you and you would know to drive in the general direction of Walmart, but turn before you get there. I'm not sure if the recipient of those directions ever made it to their destination, but I know that that line is one of many "papaisms" that always makes us smile.
Papa was a Cajun through and through. He grew up in a large family, knew what it was to have much, and knew what it was to have nothing. His early years were sometimes difficult and he had to learn to take care of himself at an early age. What he lacked in formal education he made up for in drive, ambition and tenacity. He was truly a self made man as it was only by his own determination and initiative that he became successful in life.
I remember the first time I met my then future father-in-law. It was at his favorite place in the world - his lake house. He immediately made me feel welcomed and made sure that I was well fed which I learned through the years was his way of showing affection. He loved to feed people and everyone was welcomed to come and eat at any time. If by chance you couldn't make it over to his place he would bring the food to you. Many a neighbor and acquaintance found themselves on the receiving end of Paul's great cooking.
He wasn't one to share his emotions and he didn't subscribe to using terms of endearment to show his love, but looking back there were many times when in his own stoic way he showed that he cared. On many occassions early in our marriage when finances were more than tight he and my mother-in-law would show up with groceries and much needed baby things. There was no condemnation associated with these gifts, only the silent understanding that this is just what family does for one another. Or when I suffered a miscarriage and had to go into the hospital for an out patient procedure, Paul showed up at the hospital and sat with his son while I was in surgery. There weren't many words exchanged between the two as they sat there together, but just the simple act of him showing up on that sad day spoke volumes to both Paul and me.
So as we gather together to say goodbye to Paul Sr. there is sure to be some tears, undoubly there will be laughter as we recount the past, and there will probably be some sort of food because to quote my sister-in-law, " He never liked to see anybody go hungry"
Good-bye Papa, you will be missed.