So many wonderful moments


Life Moment column
By Christine Bryant

Love stories are eternal.

I didn’t learned this from books or sappy “Lifetime” movies, of which I watch my fair share. I learned this from real life.

On Sept. 25, we lost the patriarch of our family, Melvin J. Shaver. He spent 93 years on this Earth – most with my grandma, Minnie. They had been married 73 years and had been sweethearts for a handful of years prior to their wedding day.

I am one of 13 grandchildren. Some of us called him Grandpa, some Gramps. My sister and I called him Papa.

A few days ago, I was looking through a box of old photos I had kept over the years, covering all sorts of milestones and occasions in my life, from birthdays to family vacations, holidays, the first day of college, graduations, my wedding, the birth of my children and so on.

As I was looking through these photos, I began to notice that there was a commonality in all of them – that Papa was there.

Every important occasion I’ve had in my life, Papa was a part of in some way.

I also came across a lot of photos that didn’t necessarily have a milestone or occasion attached to them. They were the everyday photos where for some reason it seemed right to grab my camera or phone and capture that moment – moments in which we had no idea how special they were.

And I’m just one of nearly three dozen children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I imagine Grandma and Papa’s calendar was quite full.

Papa was a family man, someone all of us looked up to and admired, whether it was for his service, his work ethic or his devotion to our grandma. He left us with countless memories, many of which were traditions, like calling us on our birthdays and singing “Happy Birthday,” listening to old vinyl records from his favorite country artists while tapping his foot to the beat, and having a love for candy or sweets that sometimes you’d be hard pressed to find others who enjoy just as much – circus peanuts candy and the Hostess Sno Balls, specifically the white or pink ones with the coconut sprinkled on top, come to mind.

He also loved having his head rubbed, and even though as he aged, his hair would disappear a little more and more, he didn’t seem to mind. That meant more surface space for us to do circles on with our fingers.

Even recently, somehow he got my 2-year-old to rub his head – to the point where each time we would visit, she would run to sit on my mom’s lap behind my grandpa and instantly knew what to do.

I’ve been trying to think of one moment or one event that I wanted to share that epitomizes who Papa was to me, our family or the Hilliard community he called home. But I can’t narrow it down to just one moment because there’s been so many moments.

That left me realizing something. It’s easy to get lost in the significance of one event – the pressure of making a bold statement or a noticeable act of kindness or nobility.

In reality, all we can really hope for in this life is that when it’s time for us to no longer be on this earth, we have left all the people we love with so many happy moments that it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one.

Like love, memories are eternal, and the impact he has made on my life in particular will be felt for generations to come.

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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