Papa Tirt

April 24, 2011

Papa Tirt holding you, 1998


I don’t remember where Kirk Sr. ended and I began, or vice versa. I know that I loved him. He was my best friend, the only best friend I ever had. I know that I miss him and will be forever grateful I knew him. I am grateful that he allowed me to be Kirk Jr.’s mom. It’s the highest honor ever bestowed on me by a friend.

He loved you before you arrived. He told me it was okay, we would make it. I believed him because we had held hands through insane, difficult things and you weren’t a difficult thing; you were an impending joy.

The crazy plastic bags of goodies hanging off of every door knob in his house expanded prior to your arrival, and exploded once you made your first appearance. The door knobs couldn’t handle his anticipation and love.

He couldn’t come to see you at the hospital when you were born, and couldn’t come to our house. He had to wait for us to come to him, and your mom made him a high priority. Thank her some day. She knew what it meant to have a Kirk in her life because like me, she had two. She wanted you to have two, also.

Now we all have one, but we remember the first.

You rode his power wheelchair from room to room, hanging on to the neck that no one else could touch because of the pain it caused him. I was sure you would fall off but you didn’t; his arms held you. Somehow, he didn’t notice pain when you were the rider. You hugged him, and somehow he didn’t notice any pain from your hugs, either.

You called him Papa Tirt.

He built your crooked kitchen. His hands would tire and his body didn’t work much of the time, but he put more love into everything he did than anyone I have ever known.

He blew sawdust all over his house while building things. There was green sawdust everywhere from his danged green paint. He dumped sticky Kool-Aid everywhere and occasionally burned something with his cigarettes. He burned carpets, and then burned the plastic mats we placed to keep him from burning carpets.

We cleaned it up. You, your mom and I cleaned it all up in the raw days. Jenny joined us before his funeral and whipped the house into shape, because that’s what Jenny does. She takes care of things.

Remember Papa Tirt. Today, remember Uncle Kirk. When you are all grown up, fly to Arizona and visit him. He always asks about you and your mom.


  1. Great post. Such a simple thing stated so eloquently.

  2. Love this. Family is so special.

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