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Family Gathering

By Jo Ann Wiedman

We had gathered and seated ourselves around my parents’ ancient oak table for another holiday dinner. Four generations at one table celebrating the passage of our lives together once again with traditions unique to our family.

After my father offered thanks for our many blessings, my nephew exclaimed “Thanks grandpa, now we can all eat.”

One of the great grandchildren replied “Why do you call him “grandpa?” We call him poppa.”

I surveyed my loved ones and realized that my Dad has many names: Three brothers and two sisters call him Dad; and we know he loves us. Mom calls him Clem or Dear, and we know he loves her. My Brother Michael’s 3 children call him Poppa and he loves them. Kathy’s kids call him G. P. and he loves them. My kids call him Grandpa and he loves them too. My cousins call him Uncle Clem, and he loves them too. His former students called him Mr. Wiedman and knew him as a good math teacher with a great sense of humor and they loved him. His buddies at church, in the coffee club and at physical therapy also call him Clem and he loves them too.

Now if you asked each of us to share our most treasured memories of time spent with him, most likely we would each have different stories. And if we did share such stories, probably each of us would find more reasons for loving him, discovering greater range and style than each of us experienced in our personal history of interaction.

He would not turn his back on any of us in a time of need nor would he hold a grudge against any of his grandchildren because they address him in their own style or against any of his loved ones because we don't all share the same stock of meaningful experiences in our memories of him.

And I realized; “That’s how it must be with our heavenly Father.”

Jo Ann Wiedman

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