This handsome young man was my grandfather. I have this picture dated around 1942.
Doesn’t he look like a barrel of laughs? He was.
I am not sure why his birthday has hit me so hard this year, as he passed away a few years ago. My sister suggested that maybe with how crazy the world is lately, we just miss him and wish he were here to laugh with us. I think she may be on to something.
As a kid, he made sure our weekends at the lake were filled with laughs and skiing and dancing and more laughs.
Sounds crazy, but at the lake, being a member of the Bradley clan was almost like being royalty. Everyone knew my grandfather. We called him Daddy Pat and everyone else did too. All day long, people would approach his boat to introduce their latest child or talk about their new boat. Many of them would ask for his advice or a favor – both of which he gave freely.
For those of you familiar with Fun Island on Ft. Gibson Lake, my family just called it The Island. My grandfather and his buddies helped clear the brush and debris to expose the sandy beach. Technically, I think that makes him a Founder of The Island – don’t you? Check out the pictures below of us enjoying The Island, circa 1977.
My sister (above) and me (below) getting a lift on to The Island. Check out Daddy Pat’s Old Man Coors on the deck.
Daddy Pat was extremely close with my brother. In fact, the family joke is that they were twins. As they grew older, the similarities in behavior and appearance were startling.
But probably most importantly, he loved my grandmother. They showed all of us how to be married for life…survive each other and still find time to laugh and dance. The picture below is from one of the last dance parties we held on the boat.
I can bet that on some random day, for no real particular reason, you may have missed someone who you loved and were overwhelmed by how much that wasn’t said or done when you had that person in your life. So, this evening, I am going to take a moment to sit, remember, and be grateful for the time I had with Daddy Pat. And I am going to have an ice-cold Old Man Coors in my hand. He would have liked that.