First off, Larry, in his case, is not short for Lawrence--or anything else for that matter...it was always just "Larry." The picture above showing the star registry for Lawrencio was a gift I had done for my mom last year...I wanted him to have a star named after him. Why Lawrencio? My friend and bandmate from many years ago (Steve "Buzz" Werthe) can officially take credit for that. Steve and I were at my parents' house visiting one night--he always enjoyed chatting with my dad...but my dad wasn't around that evening, so Steve asked my mom "Where's Lawrencio, your Latin lover?" (Steve always had a way with words). My mom got quite a chuckle out of that and the nickname just sort of stuck. My mom started calling my dad Lawrencio at times when she was being silly, but it remained always just an in-house joke. Until I had a star named after him. Now it's a part of history.
You see, for my mom and I, dad's birthday is sort of the kickoff for a long and often challenging season for both of us...it goes right on up through the new year. Mom and I both get a little weird and overly emotional during this time (holidays aren't what they used to be, and all that jazz). Thoughts of dad tend to pervade most of our conversations and lots of reminiscing happens without any effort at all on our part. Sometimes it can become a little overwhelming, so I try to offset some of the heaviness with little bits of humor...something I learned from my dad of course. Lawrencio is always good for a chuckle with my mom.
The picture below the star registry photo is my dad holding a falcon that was a gift to him from some of his coworkers when we were moving away from one Air Force base to another. I believe that was from when we were leaving Travis AFB in California, and moving to Elmendorf AFB in Alaska...I'm not positive though, as we did way too much moving over the years, and I sometimes lose track. He was a handsome dude though, and had a great smile. In my opinion he was by far the best looking of the three brothers in his family, and I'm sure Mom would agree. He was also the youngest of the three, though he had a sister who was the oldest of them all, and another sister that was the youngest of them all.
When Weasel and Butterfly were up here with me in Alaska, we used to always celebrate my dad's birthday after he passed, instead of the day he died. It made him feel more alive that way to me. We'd have cake (with candles, of course) and ice cream, wore party hats and had little party horns to blow. All three of us would blow out the candles on the cake of course, and the cake was always yellow cake with chocolate frosting since it was my dad's favorite. The ice cream we just sort of picked what sounded good to us at the time, because my dad was never big on ice cream.
This reminds me how Weasel started a tradition for us when he was 3--on accident. We had the candles lit, our party hats on, and our party horns in hand. I remember Weasel saying "Maybe if we blow our horns three times, Grandpa Larry will come." I shed a joyful tear when he said that, and told him, "Yes, you just might be right." And we blew our horns three times. The spirit of young children never ceases to amaze me...and why do they have to grow up, by the way?
This is a great memory, and I wish that I had planned ahead now and had a party hat and a horn to blow, despite being here alone. My mother thought of it earlier tonight too when we spoke on the phone without me mentioning it. As we were getting set to hang up, she said "Be sure to blow your horn three times tonight." Now I'm really wishing I had one. I will have to do so in my imagination.
It is duly noted that when I get to constructing that new raft, it will have to be equipped with an official Grandpa Larry (Lawrencio, the Latin lover) birthday horn...to be blown three times on the 7th of November each year.
I love you, Dad.