Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Robert Franklin Smith - Nickname, A Right of Passage

Robert (Papa) Smith holding Ava Grace
My father was known as papa to his 14 grandchildren and great papa to his 10 great grandchildren.  The name papa was assigned to him by his first grandchild who could not pronounce the word grandpa.

Dad adorded them all, especially holding the babies.  When they were about two months old, dad would hold a piece of a Hershey candy bar between his fingers and touch their lips with the chocolate. He would just laugh watching their little faces as they reacted with excitement with the sweet taste. By the time the candy was gone it was all over their litte chin and cheeks.   But, if the toddler's mother would dare give them a cracker he would cringe in fear they would choke.

Dad would give most babies a nickname shortly after birth.  Parents never asked, just eagerly waited to hear the name he would assign.  He never announced it, only said the name in passing when speaking to his grandchild, or asking about them.  It was then that you smiled and knew all was right with the world.  It became one of importance, a right of passage.  

Here is a sampling of the names Papa gave in love: Sweetie, Little Bob, Kimipoo, Buddy, Little Girl, Tykie, Pebbles, Dunkie, Twinks, Little Man and Little Lady.

Papa's face would always light up with such joy and his eyes would always sparkle with such great love when his family was present.  There was never any question that indeed you were loved by this gentle and caring man.  He taught us that family was the most important thing in the world.  That lesson has not been forgotten by any of us.  We all truly loved this man who left us in 2008, but, we all still feel his love today.

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