Tuesday, January 31, 2012

R.I.P. Gary Richard Volz, Sr.



For those of you who have not heard, my dad passed away in October. That's why this blog has been quiet for so long. I wanted to write a proper tribute to him, but it felt wrong, until today. So here goes.

What I'll miss most
I miss a lot already, and I wonder what else I will later realize I miss about Dad. He was always game for watching baseball with me. On my second-to-last visit with him in Phoenix, back in June, we sat from about 5 to 11pm watching baseball nonstop. At one point toward the end of the bender, I said "Dad, we're watching a Royals-A's game and the score isn't even close!" He was like, "Yep." It was awesome.

I miss his sense of humor, which was as corny and dumb as mine.

I miss his unexpectedly light moments, when I was a kid and did something bad and thought I was gonna be in for it. And then he'd either say something very brief, or make a show of saying nothing and leave me to think on what I did. So effective! I wish I could remember that next time I am tempted to lecture one of the boys.

I miss our games of ping pong on the back patio while he grilled BBQ chicken or steak or whatever. He beat me for years, until I was about 11 or 12. I won and was so psyched. Then he said "You know, all these years I've been playing right-handed. And I'm a lefty." Once he started playing with his good hand, it took me months to beat him again. Paddles were broken in the process. To his credit, he allowed me my rage, even as he maintained his Zen-like calm. Just yesterday, I beat Desi 21-19, with my bad hand, and he threw the ball 30 feet. I kept my cool. Thanks, Dad.

Dad was a hard working, generous, loyal, smart, mellow (mostly) guy. It's hard for me to even look back on his life right now, because it should still be going on. He turned 65 a few months after getting diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma of the lung. He fought hard and complained very little during his final months. I was with him when he died, as were Erica and Mom. He knows we loved him, and we know he wants us to be happy, not sad. I'm doing my best at that.

Mom deserves special mention here for the months of companionship and appointments and paperwork and stress she endured. Dad needed her and she came through completely. It's remarkable what all she did, and I know Dad got as much peace of mind as he could because of her dedication and love. Thank you a thousand times, Mo.

Well, writing this is taking more out of me than I had thought. I'm going to stop for now, and post some pics from winter break in St. Louis/Phoenix. I'll be back soon with more remembrances and archive shots of Dad. Here's one for now. Check out the world's original modem! Or is that a fax machine?



In St. Louis, we had a family gathering for Dad at Pujols 5 Restaurant. Just a few days after he signed with some other team. At least we're loyal.





We went up in the Arch (that's Busch Stadium down there. Oh yeah, WORLD CHAMPS! Thank you, Dad.)





Not that we don't have leaves in Shanghai, but they usually get swept up before kids can do this (in Grandma's front yard):



We saw the grands (mine and the boys') in St. Lou and again in Phoenix (where we spent Christmas with them and Erica). But every photo of Erica came out blurry! Not that this one is Pulitzer worthy...



but it's still cute enough.

Sarah taught Steve some iPhone tricks:



And we hit the Desert Botanical Garden. Love the Beatles hair!



And no trip to PHX is complete without pizza at Dad's favorite place: Oregano's



Back in Shanghai, here's Emmett's sweet new move: