Ivan Richard Misner, Sr., truly was a wonderful man.
In 1989, I married his son, Ivan Richard Misner, II, and in 1993, I delivered his grandson, Ivan Richard Misner, III. Over the past 26 years I have spent as Mrs. Ivan Richard Misner, I grew to love the man I knew as Dad.
I was 24 years old when I became Dad’s daughter-in-law. My family lived in Texas, and I did not see them often. Ivan’s mom and dad lived five miles away from us and were more than in laws to me. They loved me without a shadow of a doubt, and I loved both of them very, very much.
I have some very cherished memories of my times with Dad. When our kids were quite young, and my husband was away on business trips, I would bring the babies to their house to spend two or three nights with them. Dad loved country music and had a lot of records and cassettes. We would sit for hours, drinking coffee and listening to Hank Snow, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis.
We would (as he put it) chit chat into the wee hours.
He talked freely about his youth, growing up in Kansas, dropping out of school to work the land and care for the animals on the farm. As the years went by, he would talk more freely about his time serving in the Korean War. He liked to tell stories, and I liked to hear them!
We talked about gardening and pored over his gardening books together, planning what I would be planting next in my home garden. If I had problems with any of my trees, I would take photos to Dad, and he would give his advice on what should be done.
We talked a lot.
And then there are the trips I took with him. We went to Wilmington, DE, together, Mom and Dad and my 18-month-old daughter, to be with my sister in law and eagerly await the delivery of their granddaughter. A few years later, I drove with Mom and Dad and two little kids to Oregon from California to be with my sister-in-law again when her second daughter made her arrival. I drove with Mom and Dad to Kansas from California with three slightly older kids (my two and my niece) and a family friend on a great two-week long trip! Ah, the memories.
And then his work on our family tree started. I got really involved with him, staying up until 3 or 4 AM on Ancestry.com, Roots Web, Family Tree Maker. We covered so much ground, and I learned so much about the extended family. When I was not at his house working together with him, I was home going into the online databases to gather as much information as I could. My husband jokes that I know more about his side of the family than he does! It might be true.
I spent hours and hours with him on another project transcribing poems his mother and his aunt both wrote. Together we created a homemade book of poetry that is pretty special. Copies of the book have been sent out to all the family members we have addresses for. He was very proud of this book, with good reason. I’m pretty proud of it, as well.
I can tell you that Dad was a kind man – he had a special way of giving out homespun wisdom and “tidbits,” as he said. I am glad I was able to spend as much time with him as I was. And I’m glad that he was so much more than simply a father in law to me. He really blessed me by being a second dad.
I grieve for our loss, and simultaneously, I celebrate his new life – I believe in life after death. I can just envision him and Mom reunited to continue their lives together.
And although I am so sad, I am also so grateful that he was such a big part of my life.