Joni Parsley Daydream Believer
Monday, July 01, 2013

See You in the Funny Papers-My Tribute to “Clyde”

*note-this is my personal tribute to my late (and great) father-in-law. It’s an open letter to him so forgive me, if I don’t use formal titles etc. He and I were never formal and I liked it that way. He was so many things to so many people but this is who he was to me and I certainly could never do him justice in these few paragraphs.

Dearest Clyde,

I only write this in letter form because I have no other way that comes to mind. This is all simply surreal. I don’t particularly like the world without you in it and it’s an odd and empty feeling. I’ve known you since I was nineteen years old-most of my adult life. Seven years later, when I married your son, I had no idea that I got two great guys in the deal-well, really three if you count Austin. Your moral code, work ethic and sense of honor and integrity reminded me so much of my own Dad-I guess that’s why you both got along so well. I always loved overhearing your conversations about fighting in Korea and, the laughter that went along with some of the stories, made me think you two got in a little trouble while you were there!

Your laugh is what I may miss most but there’s no way I could pick just one thing. Most people don’t know what our relationship was like because few really saw it. It was forged in the many days and nights while I was alone, with the kids, while Rodney was on the road preaching. Often, Ellen was gone ministering too and we were both alone. Since we were neighbors, you quickly became our safety net as you came over to check on us, have dinner, or take the kids outside for an adventure. Unfortunately for you, the “emergency repairman” title came along with it too! Oh, the many times I called you with a dead car battery, a clogged drain, a basement flood or some broken “this or that”. My favorite emergency was the infamous garbage disposal explosion. I had put an entire pan of rice down the disposal and it exploded like The Yellowstone Geyser! You and I waded through rice and water up to our ankles and you just laughed, took off your shoes and socks, and rolled up those khaki pants you always wore. I deserved a lecture but you never said a word-I’m still really sorry over that one!

I can still picture the countless times you walked through the back door, coffee cup in hand, saying, “Do you need anything boys?” From there our chats covered several topics and often, we’d vent to each other about things that always remained between us. Thank you for being a sounding board and a voice of reason since no one else would have, or could have, understood what it was like being the background to someone else’s foreground. Even though we’d have it no other way, there were still drawbacks that only we knew relative to our particular situations. I always felt better knowing you were there…now what am I supposed to do?

I remember one of our conversations about the things that matter in life. You told me your goal was to be a great Paw Paw and what I can say to that is… Mission Accomplished! More people should have goals like that; uncomplicated but everlasting. What memories you gave your three grandkids! I could never list them all but you know and they know and that’s all that really matters. You never needed applause or accolades…people that have great depth of character don’t. Your applause came in the squeals of Austin’s delight on the four-wheeler, the pride on Amy’s face as you taught her to shoot her first gun, and the pure pleasure of teaching Ashton to drive the junky “Buck Truck” at age ten! Your accolades came in the time you had with your family and your devotion was matchless. I watched intently as you hovered over your daughter’s bedside and we’ll leave it at that since you are joyfully together now…as it should be. You stood beside your son in ways that are indescribable-you built way more than just buildings. You cheered on your wife as she pursued her calling and by example, helped me do the same.

I could go on and on but the volumes I have left will forever remain in the torn and tattered pages of this wounded heart that I wear on my sleeve right now. You are not just one of the good ones; you are one of the great ones. Whenever you left my house, you always left your coffee cup and I’d wait until I had three or four before I return them. The other day, I found one of them in the back of a cupboard I was cleaning out…um, you’re not getting it back! I’ll keep it along with my fondest of all memories -what you always said when you left, “Well, I’ll see you in the funny papers.” I miss hearing that, I miss laughing over the Letters to the Editor in your hometown paper, I miss your orange paint on everything, I miss hearing the sound of your truck pulling in the drive, I miss your jokes, I even miss your singing…I guess you could say I miss everything.

This I know, there is a heaven and you’re there. You deserve your Crown of Righteousness and your Eternal Reward. You deserve to have no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more loss. You deserve the joy of being with your daughter, your loved ones and your Lord. You deserve it all and that’s my solace. As Ashton said, “Paw Paw had too much life to stay in that body”. I agree, as hard as it is to say, but I agree. I’m comforted in knowing that this goodbye isn’t forever but until then, please know that I love you and well… I’ll see you in the funny papers.

Love Always,


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About Joni

Thanking God for blessings too many to list. He is my all and my always-the glory and the lifter of my head... He never fails.

Why the Name

"For a child, it’s as easy as blowing out candles on a cake, or wishing upon a star. But as for one of those 'grown-ups,' 'No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.' " ...