My Papa Joe, as I have conveyed in previous posts, was a very exceptionally wise and wondrous human being; I still feel extremely blessed to have been born into his family, and have always considered the fact that I was to be a gift from the Gods. I say these things for a few reasons:
1) Had Papa Joe been absent from the scene of childhood days, the ever-heeded voice of reason would have been missing, as well;
2) Papa Joe was my lifetime’s most consistent and long-standing teacher and leader, even out-lasting my own father in Life to continue to impart his things on my being;
3) My grandfather was so much more than just the stiff-lipped, strange smelling, old dude that you had to visit begrudgingly as a child – he and I were friends – always, since my earliest memories of his presence, were we close because he not only heard me when I spoke: he listened.
Papa Joe introduced poetry to me as a very little kid; he used to read to me daily no matter what; he encouraged me to create my own stories and song lyrics – and would patiently and attentively listen to my finished products, without fail. He is embedded into the core of my first recollections and remains throughout my entire life through the age of twenty-one. When I say that I hung out with him regularly until the day he died, I am not exaggerating at all: he was literally one of my very favorite people to spend my time with; he never got old or boring. Papa Joe hardly ever told the same story twice unless he was asked to, he was very intelligent as well as deeply spiritual and magickal. He was a WWII pilot and POW, he was the father of four sons and the loving husband to a superbly insane, sawed-off and dangerous Norwegian Sami (my paternal grandma, Lisbett) for half a century. He was a Rosicrucian, a Mason, and a self-taught Egyptologist. He was an avid reader and wrote as well; he was a die-hard lover of ancient lore and craft.
One of his favorite books to reads to me was Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, a solid bond between he and I that led to the collectively used nickname he went by of “CHIANG”. I would go to him with a “secret loose tooth” that I hadn’t told any of my older set of brothers about because they were brutal string-to-door-knobbers; he would reach in my mouth and wiggle it gently and grunt and huff and puff under his breath with a vanilla pipe ember-red stuffed in his teeth, eventually declaring quietly that it wasn’t quite time yet to try to pull the loose tooth.
“Come up on my lap and let’s read some Richard Bach, instead of me pulling your tooth, eh?”
His eyes would wrinkle with the tops of his cheeks when he smiles, and he smiled at me often, I recall. It was always at least ten minutes before I would taste the blood or try and wiggle my loose tooth with my tongue only to find a tender hole where it had been when I showed him. I fell for this over and over – likely every tooth that I lost as a child was taken safely from my mouth in this exact fashion – by my Papa Joe. He was something else.