Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Welcome Presence

There are some people you never actually meet, but who have a great impact on your life nevertheless.

This is such a person, Grandpa Courtney, Mr. Tennis' dad.  I never got to meet my father-in-law, but his influence has always been present in our family.  This very picture was always on display whenever I had the pleasure of visiting at Gramps' little lake house.  My first thought when seeing this picture was that Mr. T looked nothing like his dad, who was blonde and blue-eyed.  As I grew older and had children of my own I came to realize that we inherit so much more than just our looks from our parents. Our personality, intelligence and talents are passed down as well.  I've heard many stories over the years about this fine man and have been amazed at how many similarities there are between him and his eldest son.

Courtney left this life in a most heroic fashion when his sons were 9, 7 and 3.  His fighter jet was shot down over Vietnam. 

For many years this was the only picture I saw of my father-in-law and I had in my mind that he must have been a very serious person, no nonsense and all business.  Then his wife, Orlando Grandma, gave us some of Courtney's old slides and other aspects of his personality were revealed and the many similarities between Mr. Tennis and his father were confirmed.

He enjoyed being on the water, just as his son, Mr. Tennis, does.

He liked to water ski, even making his own skis.  Did he fantasize about being a Cypress Gardens skier the way his son, Mr. Tennis, did?

He had a sense of humor about his height & wasn't afraid to poke fun at himself. 

He had excellent taste in women!  Here Grandpa Courtney and Orlando Grandma are shown celebrating their first anniversary.

He was a devoted family man.

After seeing some of these more candid shots of my husband's father, I discovered a fun-loving, devoted, athletic man in addition to my original impression of an intelligent, stoic military man.  I realized that even though Mr. Tennis did not physically resemble his dad and lost him at a young age, he inherited a great many of his best qualities.  I know that Courtney would be very proud of the outstanding man his eldest son has become, his wonderful grandchildren, and of course, his lovely and generous wife. As for me, I missed the opportunity to meet the man who would have been my father-in-law, but I didn't miss the opportunity to "know" him.  For that I am grateful.

Happy Birthday
November 15th
Love, From All of Your Family


KarenSue said...

Grampa Courtney has an amazing daughter-in-law too! I'm sure he knows and is smiling and proud.

Orlando Grandma said...

I have no words just "a great job" He would be proud of Alan's choise of a "lifemate"
Thank you from my heart.

Alan said...

Thank you for a beautiful collection of words and pictures that I believe gives us sense of my Dad. I'm sure he's smiling down on all of us.

Sammy said...

This is just the best (even though I am a little behind haha). These are incredible pictures.