Mr Ralph …

Ralph Provost was my second dad.   He, his wife Nancy and their three sons (Craig, David and Paul) lived one door up the street from my family through all of my childhood.

Mr Ralph died this past Friday.

And so did part of me.

A larger part lives even larger though, thanks to Mr Ralph.

My dad and Mr Ralph were US Marines.  They saw a part of humanity and inhumanity I can’t even imagine.   They both served in Korea, Viet Nam and on many other military fronts.  They were both changed by these experiences ~ for the better.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Mr Ralph officially became a teacher.  He was always my teacher though.   He taught me how to hold and throw a baseball – over not under.  I didn’t really want to learn, but he told me I needed to know.

He was right.

And now I can.

Mr Ralph taught me how to talk to boys.   I DID want to learn this.  And since he WAS one and had three sons, I figured he was an expert.  He was.  He told me the most important thing to remember was that boys might like to look at pretty girls, but they want to hang out with girls who respect them. He said lip gloss was fine, but finding a boy I respected and who respected me was the most important thing.    He also told me that if I was ever hanging out a boy I didn’t respect, chances were that boy didn’t respect me either – so I should dump him.   Have to admit at 13, I didn’t believe -much less understand –  this one.

He was right again, though.

And now I know.

Mr Ralph SO wanted to teach me how to create things from wood.  He was a master craftsman.   That one didn’t go so well.   What he DID teach me was to treasure craftsmanship.  That changed the course of my life.   And through many moves and shifts in my life, I still keep fresh cheese in the cheese board/dome Mr Ralph made.  I also hang my bananas from a tree Mr Ralph made.  They are treasured icons of simply perfect craftsmanship.

And they will remain treasures, as long as I love Mr Ralph, cheese and bananas ~ which will be as long as I live.

These are just three things Mr Ralph taught me.  There are many more – that resilience rules; the profound healing power of laughing out loud;  that helping someone else is just What We Do; and that love is a verb.

So as I join Nancy, Craig, David, Paul and sooooo many others in missing Mr Ralph’s physical presence ~ I also stand with them in celebrating the difference he made and continues to make in this world.

9 thoughts on “Mr Ralph …

  1. This is what is important in life~these wonderful people that leave wonderful and endearing memories!

  2. Jane,Kenny, Corrine & Alicia, THANKS for joining all of us in celebrating Mr Ralph! and blessings all over all of you and YOUR Mr Ralphs… would love to hear about them.

  3. Lately, I’ve been playing with the question “What matters”. Mr. Ralph teaches me that more matters than I might realize. We each matter to someone. Thanks, Lisa.

  4. Lisa, what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man and a wonderful teacher. One of the nicest things you’ve written….and for the best of reasons.

    I’ve often said that we need to be past age 40 before we really appreciate the things that have influenced our lives. And we don’t often recognize them then, unless we’re lucky. When we do wake up and realize how people along the way have meant so much to us, they’re often gone. But we do have the chance to pass those things along to others…who may not appreciate them until they’re older. But pass them along we will, if we’ve learned anything at all. God gives us memories so the people we love are never gone. What we do with those memories is up to us. We can pass the good things along…if we’re learned anything from them. So nice to see that’s what you’ve chosen to do.

  5. Robin, indeed we DO all matter to someone! what a privilege, eh? 🙂

    Tom, yep, i’m grateful i am ‘old enough’ to make the right choices (sometimes :))

    thanks for commenting, ya’ll!

  6. Lisa-HUGS to you on the earthly loss of one of your nearest and dearest people. Wish I could do or say something more that might help, but I can’t. SOOOO….I’ll just send HUGS, lots of HUGS!

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