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Loved ones still with us at Thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving, a lot of people conjure up thoughts of turkey and dressing, a table full of cooked vegetables, and a slice of pumpkin pie even when there’s no room left for it.

But for me, I think about Pops.

Pops was a guy I wish everyone could have spent a few minutes with.

Pops was a guy who loved the Cleveland Browns, loved helping people and, most of all, loved his family.

He was a police dispatcher and had immeasurable respect for law enforcement officers, the good ones anyway.

He was a special person.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since dad died. But I still miss him terribly.

Right after his death, I was told by many supporters that the holidays would be the toughest time.

And they were right.

My father had polio and that awful disease played a large role in his health problems, even though he never let it slow him down and wasn’t the kind of man who made excuses for himself.

I can still remember him getting excited that all the family would be together for Thanksgiving. However, there were a few ground rules around the holidays in Richard Greene’s house.

First, no one could even think about trying to turn the channel to some nonsense other than the NFL games.

The TV stayed on and some people ate in the living room (away from the kitchen table, much to my mother’s chagrin).

I always ate in the living room.

He also had to make the potato salad. He loved it and had to get it just the right way. His was pretty good, but I never had the heart to tell him it wasn’t as good as mom’s.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and anyone else who wanted — or needed — a warm meal for this special holiday were welcomed with open arms.

He was the patriarch of our entire family. He was the guy who worried about everybody else, the guy who found solutions to other people’s problems and the guy who always lended an ear when somebody needed one.

I suspect anyone reading this knows somebody like Richard Greene.

Maybe anyone reading this is having to deal with a Thanksgiving without someone special who’s always been there.

In many ways, the holiday season is therapeutic. That’s because it takes us back to some of the happiest times for those we miss.

The evidence that they’re still with us isn’t hard to find if you look.

It might be a tradition that lives on, it might be the people who were affected in a positive way because of their influence or it might be something arbitrary.

I already know what it is for me.

Go Packers.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at rick.greene@irontontribune.com.