Happy Birthday Daddy!
Today is my Dad’s 62nd birthday. I can clearly remember his 40th birthday when my mom threw a birthday party for him and his best friends dressed up in makeup and costumes like “old geezers” and everybody had a good laugh.
It doesn’t seem like it’s been 20+ years since that party, and other than having a few wrinkles, moving a little slower and forgetting things just a little more often – he still seems like MY DADDY – that guy I grew up with who was big and strong and would meet any young man at the front door with a shotgun if necessary…
When I think about my dad, I have a lot of great memories. I have regarded many of his traits as being things I hope to model effectively to my family, and traits I already know I inherited from him – either naturally or just by being around him.
1. His Sense of Humor. He has a fantastic sense of humor and this infectious laugh – and when he gets going, we all get going and laugh until we have tears rolling down our faces. I can remember a few times when my dad himself would be on the floor, screaming with laughter, unable to STOP laughing from reading one of Patrick McManus’ books. He would finally catch his breath and we would BEG him to tell us why he was laughing. He would and we’d usually end up laughing all over again.
2. Great Story Telling. My dad has always had the ability to tell stories in an entertaining and gripping way. It contributes to his really great teaching ability as well as his ability to captivate most audiences when he speaks. When he was younger, he would often act them out which added to the excitement! Whenever I’ve been told I can tell a great story – I think about my dad and what a great teacher he has been.
3. His Hands. My dad has always been a hard worker. He was a carpenter by trade, and often came home from work with scrapes, cuts, and band-aids. His hands were tough and strong – and I always felt safe holding his hand when I was a little girl.
4. The Look. Do you know what I mean? Do you know THAT look that a dad can give that brings immediate calm to what was once childish chaos and even disobedience? He didn’t only use it with us three kids – he was able to use it at work when he was in a positioin of authority in the on-base (Air Force) detention facility. Whether he was born with the ability to achieve this look, or whether it was something he learned when he became a Drill Instructor with the U.S. Marine Corps I will never know. But suffice it to say, I pray that one day I can achieve THE LOOK with my own kids…
5. Sense of Adventure. When we were stationed in Alaska (twice) my dad took great advantage of the opportunities afforded us there. He went hunting, fishing, camping – even in winter – and often took us fishing and camping, too. This is when his story telling skills reached their peak – and he would often have me scared-to-death to sleep in a canvas tent in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness – SURE that some crazed, starving bear would eat me alive. (Note: this can happen, but does not occur as often as car accidents, so it was more dramatic than anything…)
6. His Love of Country. I know no other person born in this country that loves the United States of America more than my dad. I have seen his patriotism in action, and lived with the results of his service for his country. He joined the Marine Corps in the 1960’s and served three tours in Viet Nam. (Should you decide to post anything deroggatory about Viet Nam vets in response to this, let me be crystal clear that I will read your comments and then I will delete them. My blog – My right.) My dad served his country because he is a proud son of America. Regardless of political policy or party – my dad would die for everything our country was built upon – and this is (in my opinion) his 2nd most admirable trait.
7. His Love of God. My dad is a Christian. For most of my life I was raised in a Christian home. He was as eager to live out his faith as he was his patriotism and has become well-versed in his knowledge of Scripture and Biblical teachings. While he is not perfect and will himself admit to many mistakes – his love for God is not fake or pretentious in any way. He loves God’s word and loves to share his faith with anyone willing to listen. I am grateful for his teaching – both at home and at church – and appreciate the rich heritage he endowed upon me.
Despite difficult times in our relationship – and disagreements along the way – I will always love my dad and am so proud to be his daughter.
Happy Birthday Daddy!