1st lt. john leroy simmons

On this Memorial Day, I thank each of you courageous men and women who defend the United States of America, right now, or did so in the past. I thank every family who has a husband, wife, son, daughter, or other family member far away, serving in the military. I pray for your loved ones. I pray for the families who have lost their beloveds. I cannot fathom such bravery, selflessness, or grief. God bless each of you tenfold.

Today, I'm also thinking about my late father-in-law, John Leroy Simmons. He served as 1st Lt. in the Air Force, in the Korean War. I'm thinking of airplanes. I'm thinking of Mr. Simmons' quiet ways. How his cute dog, Twit, made him laugh. I'm thinking of how his eyes lit up when Johnny & I took him to dinner. Mr. Simmons almost always ordered a grilled salmon dish, and it was obvious how much he loved his son (and vice versa).

I'm listening to some countrified music by Neko Case. Johnny's Dad lived to pull on his cowboy boots for dancing. He'd prefer a newer-country artist, but I'm an alt. country kind of girl, so I hope he understands. He might've liked Neko, though, depending on the song's beat - if it was danceable.

So, I've gathered a few photos - old and new alike - that honor my father-in-law a little bit (but not enough):

[at our wedding rehearsal, w/Johnny's niece, Emily. Photo by YiMay Yang]

[dancing boots!]

[his bluebonnet bowl]

[our tribute to him]

[his dog tags & Air Medal (the photo taken early this morning)]

Next time, I'll scan some of my father-in-law's younger photos. He was a very handsome fellow. I sure did love him, and I love his son, who has his father's eyes & funny laugh.

But it's not a sad day - we love to remember. We're thankful Johnny's Dad came to believe. We are proud of his military service. And we're enjoying this holiday. Johnny's doing the typical Memorial Day-yard work (watering the grass the way his Dad did). I'm involved w/yet more laundry and reading Leif Enger's new book. Part of the dust jacket reads, "With its smooth mix of romanticism and gritty reality, So Brave, Young, and Handsome often recalls the Old West's greatest cowboy stories."

I just realized that my father-in-law would've enjoyed Leif Enger's books very much - both novels have a Western flavor laced throughout. Like his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. Simmons loved to read, especially Elmer Kelton, Louis L'Armour, Zane Grey (so did Swede in Enger's Peace Like a River), Larry McMurtry, mysteries, and a little bit of everything else except science fiction, says Johnny.

....We might grill Wild Alaskan salmon filets (oh, please), and we're gonna kick back and finally watch Juno - in our comfy home which we wouldn't own if not for God's provision via Johnny's Dad. Thanks to Him, and him, too.


Buddy Jones said...
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robyn a. jones said...

sorry i left a comment, then realized it was from my work stuff. i'm working today, normally we would have the day off. it looks like you have a relaxing day planned though! i'm with you on the salute to our service men and women. my dad is a vietnam vet. i know johnny's dad was a kind soul from all the other things you have written of him. :) have a great afternoon!

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

a beautiful tribute. hope you are enjoying your day.

jenni said...

Thanks, y'all!

kate o. said...

thank you for writing about him. i find it fitting that omar and i just finished up "band of brothers." it had both of us in tears several times - such heroes.

jenni said...

I want to see Band of Brothers, too. Hopping over to Netflix now....