Today, a great man died. My Popo Gejo, the Old American Moose, has left this world for the next, and I'm not quite sure how life will go on without him. I can't think of a single important event in my life that Popo was not here for. In September, when our boys were being baptized, Grandma & Popo Gejo decided not to come. I was shocked, and I knew that he must have felt bad because not much could keep him away from important events. The following Thursday, he went into the hospital, and he never came home. For the last month, our entire family has been holding their collective breath as we watched Popo fight for his life. This morning, he lost.
After Bob lost his job, our family packed up and headed to Louisiana to spend some quality time with my grandparents. I can't say what a gift that was. The week we got to spend with them is time I'll never forget and always treasure.
As I reflect back over all of the wonderful times I've spent with my Popo, I know there are some things I'll never forget. It's the little things that stick with you. Popo working the curse-word puzzle, collecting and recycling cans, always having great jingles for everything (it's fantastic, made out of plastic), teaching me silly songs when I was little and saving the lewd ones for when I turned 18 (Pepsi Cola is so hot, makes me peepee in the pot).
Popo was a father figure to a young girl who didn't have a dad who cared. He took thousands of pictures of me and displayed them proudly - even during my less than attractive middle school years. He always was there to hug me and give me encouraging words. I never once doubted that he loved me more than I could comprehend.
Popo taught me the value of family. I'm certain that he was happiest when we were all around. There were countless nights of us all sitting around the table, out on the patio, or on the porch at the camp talking, laughing, debating, and just generally enjoying each other's company. If we can raise my boys to be men like their Popo, I'll know that Bob and I have done a good job.
When we visited my grandparents, we all went to DI's Cajun Restaurant, and Popo and I took the boys out on the dance floor for their first dance. I just wish it wasn't our last dance. Jerry Filmore Campbell was an amazing man, and I am proud that my son Ryan bears his name.
In the parting words of my Popo, "Good Night Campers!"