Six months ago my dear friend learned her father had cancer. Today he lost the battle and will be greatly missed. My heart cries for you, SC, and your family.
My first memory of the Judge was at a slumber party at SC's house. It was her 10th birthday and the cake said "Congrats Double Digit S". You know how slumber parties go. Soon Dallas was over and it was late at night. A dozen or so giggling little girls were still up and making noise. We were startled by a very deep and loud voice calling down the stairs that it was late and time to go to sleep. You can be very sure that all those little girls went straight to sleep...after a final giggle or two. When SC's Dad said something in that voice, you can be sure as shootin' that it was done. Immediately.
SC's Dad was bigger than life. Physically a big man with a big beard, a big voice and a big personality. Later on I admired his big sense of humor and his big intelligence too. Most importantly, he had a big heart. I always felt welcomed at SC's home or when I was with her family. I admit I was a little scared of him as a child but really grew to admire him as I became an adult. I have so many good memories of the SC's Dad and her whole family.
I was privileged a few times to go on vacation with SC and her family. My 30th birthday happened to coincide with one beach trip. SC's parents cooked a huge Mexican meal for me. I can still taste the "meat pies". Although I was not with my own family, I felt special and I treasure that year as one of my favorite birthday memories.
I think it was during that same beach trip or maybe a different one (I wish I had been blogging back then so I could look back and see) SC's sister decided we would have a talent show for our evening entertainment one night. SC and I did a dramatic reading from the classic book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. We were outside practicing and got to laughing hard and very loudly. Pretty soon we were startled by a knock on the window and heard the familiar baritone through the glass door asking WHAT was going on out there. This time being "yelled" at made us laugh even harder.
Our reading was a great success. Everyone had a part, SC's sister played the guitar and sang. I don't recall what talent everyone else displayed but I do remember that SC's parents danced for us. Well, SC's mom danced and her dad...well...there was a lot of movement but I wouldn't call what he was doing dancing. I believe it was supposed to be The Twist but somehow seemed to resemble what I believe a drunk monkey in a hurricane might look like. We all laughed and laughed. I'm giggling now so many years later while I write.
I remember SC's Dad saying repeatedly afterwards how much he'd enjoyed the talent show. He really took pleasure in having his family around him.
Another thing was always big when you were with SC's family...the food. There was always amazing food at their house and a lot of it. The Judge's specialty was meat and it was par for the course to be served multiple types when you were a guest there. There was always such unusual fare along with traditional grilled and barbecued. I remember SC talking about strange and exotic foods such as lamb, duck and beaver (I think?). Experiencing or hearing about these helped stretch my horizons since beef and pork from our farm were only meats I can recall on our table.
The Judge enjoyed the finer things in life and sharing them with others. He had a beautiful library in his home and I remember, as a child, longing to have a wall of books like that when I grew up. He gave me my first taste of port from a hand painted Italian glass. Their extensive pantry was the first place I saw many exotic ingredients such as lemon curd and smoked paprika. Things I thought existed only on TV cooking shows.
I think what I'll remember most about the Judge was his dedication to his family. I've never met a man who cherished his wife more or took better care of her. On our beach vacations he insisted on sitting beside her at every meal. Even near the end of his life, making plans to insure she would be ok, come what may. I know both he and SC's Mom delighted in being with their children and grandchildren. I could see that so clearly during our vacations. I feel very fortunate to have so many memories with this kind and generous family.
SC -- if you're reading, thank you for sharing your family with me. Your dad will be greatly missed by many.
A classic, dedicated to another classic, SC's Dad: