Being Dad & Papa John

June 18th, 2017 by John Morris

I am Dad to my daughter, Beth, son, Adam and daughter-in-law, Yuri.  There are loads of other people who call me “Papa John”.  They are led by my grandsons, JJ, Will and Julie Sterling, their Momma.

I’m using the nickname Papa John to honor my Dad, John the first.  My wife, Lyn tagged him with this name, and it stuck.  You felt the love when someone said it.

Now when I visit the grandkids, I am in contact with their pint-sized friends and their parents. I ask all to call me “Papa John”.  It’s a nice tribute, and I’ve gained something extra in the exchange.

Interacting with these younger people makes me feel younger.  It’s something I feel better than I can explain since my body doesn’t speak English.  Barriers that exist between the generations do not block our meaningful thought, talk and action.  I am grateful for my younger peers for this tonic.

There is also another group of young people who uplift me in the same way.  They come from unrelated sources, but with them, I can feel the decades of differences between us to not matter.

  • Jen, Jake & Emily Kuhns; Mark Petrillo, Cassie & Amanda Bryan who together with the Morrises became one large, multiple family tribe.
  • Former customer, Tammie Neuin who has been a bright and cheery friend.
  • My comedy improv leader, Leah Lawler who has me working beyond my comfort zones and loving the results.

The big problem with lists is somehow you’ll omit obvious people.  I willing to deal with the fallout.

For now, I’ll offer a Father’s Day thank you to these, and other, young people in my life who have made the weight of my years seem so much lighter.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.