Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Time

It's finally time to write about my dear, wonderful, fun, smart, handsome Father In-Law.  Leon Gene Nebeker passed away on June 5th.  It was a peaceful passing, one that he deserved having spent most of his time on this earth dealing with poor health.  I loved this man, we were close, he was always there for me and in return I tried to be there for him.  It's been a process to get to this point where I can push the emotion aside and put my feelings into words.  But, it's time! 
Below are some pictures and a list of some of my memories and experiences with Leon........

  • Leon lived with us for the later years of his life.  He helped design his room in the our garage.  Some people didn't agree that it was sufficient, but he would tell me time and time again how happy he was to be with us.  He could hear the grandkids or his great grandkids playing or laughing and would tell me that was "All he was living for."  He loved his family, "especially his great-grandchildren".  It was a pleasure having him with us and I will always cherish the time we had to spend with him.
  • Before Craig and I were married, I came to the Nebeker's house on Sonora Rd. and made taco's.  Leon loved my taco's. In recent years when I would cook them I would make a point of offering him some and he would gladly gobble a couple of them up.
  • I will never forget the first time I was a passenger in the car while Leon was the driver.  One evening he gave me a ride to one of Craig's high school soccer games.  From Costa Mesa to Mission Viejo.  Oh boy, as a 17 year old girl, I was terrified of his driving.  I thought that I would not live through the drive.  He barely slowed down for a turn and apparently was colored blind as he saw green on every light.  I am so thankful that I lived to tell the tale.
  • He was so random with his invitations to go somewhere.  At the drop of a hat he would decide to take the family to Disneyland or Knotts and off we would go.  No preplanning.
  • Every Thanksgiving after stuffing ourselves we would go to the movies.  On one Thanksgiving we went to see the movie 'My Girl'.  When the movie was over and the lights came on I glanced over to him and he was wiping tears from his eyes.  He had such a tender heart.
  • Flying kites with the kids.  Either at the Sonora School across the street or at Huntington Beach. Memories my children will always cherish.
  • Once he offered to take my boys Mike, then 5 years old and Scott, then 3 years old, to the zoo in Santa Ana.  When he brought them home they told me about all the fun they had and that Grandpa took a nap on the bench at the park before the entrance to the zoo.  I was a little, actually alot, horrified of the thought of my boys running around that zoo unsupervised.  That was the last time Grandpa took the kids anywhere alone, at least while they were really young.  It makes for a good laugh now but at the time??  No way!
  • The many times that he would take care of my yard.  I tried to convince him that I actually enjoy mowing the lawn but he wouldn't have it.  He could grow anything, he tried to teach me about gardening, I was a poor student.  He loved to work outside digging, planting, even weeding. He would pick flowers, mostly roses and put them in a vase on the table. I had beautiful lush green grass and the best flowers on the block.  My friends were jealous and said I had a personal gardener and I did.
  • His laugh, oh how I will miss that goofy laugh.  Craig can do a pretty good impression though.
  • One Thanksgiving, one piece of pumpkin pie, one container of cool whip, my very proper grandfather, Homer Herbert, and Leon eating with his hands.  LOL  You had to be there.
I really could go on and on.  I was so blessed to have this man in my life.  I know that he is in a better place, reunited with my Mother in law, Norma Jean and he is happy. He was a wonderful Father in law, Grandpa and Great Grandpa to my kids.  He'll always have a place in all of our hearts.