Some dates get seared into your memory. Your birthday. Your mom’s birthday. If you’re married, that day. November 13th is a dark day for me. Two years ago on this day, my Papa Tom died. He died peacefully, in his sleep, at about 3:00 in the morning. We were waiting for it to happen. He had been very sick. Looking back, I think he actually died before November 13th. My Papa was a proud man. He was of the Greatest Generation. He was practical, loving, and funny. He was full of advice and cute "Papa" anecdotes. I miss him a lot. Yesterday, I went to his grave and took some red flowers and an American Flag. I was thinking of what he would have said to me. He would have accepted the flowers, but said he didn’t need them. He would have appreciated the flag, then gone on to tell me about how you’re not supposed to fly a flag unless it’s lit up. He would have glanced over to my car and told me I needed to wash it and asked how much gas was in the tank. A clean car runs better. You shouldn’t let your car get all the way down to empty. I laughed there in the cemetery, and cried. Life isn’t the same without him. It’s funny how things like death, things that are so separating, so permanent, can put things into perspective. But then again, Papa could always do that. I miss his big smile and his big belly, his crooked arthritic hands that just by looking at them, you knew there were stories there… and little things like how he used to bang out a little beat on the kitchen counter, trying to make me laugh.