Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday

For many reasons, October 4 is a date of note in my family. The most important reason being that it is my dad's birthday. Dad is half of a dynamic duo that gave my three siblings and me the best of all childhoods.

Dad and I didn't meet until I was four months old. He was serving as a supply sergeant in Japan when I was born. But he was there when all three of my younger siblings came screamin' into this world. He was the one who had to tell mom that the doctors didn't think they would be taking my baby brother home, probably the hardest thing he ever had to tell her. My mother, discharged from the hospital, had to leave her precious newborn behind and it fell to my father to go to the hospital every morning to see my brother and find out how he was doing. Dad did this every day until my brother finally came home.

As a kid, my dad would sometimes take me with him when he went golfing. It wasn't that I liked golf (heavens no), or the great outdoors, or even the fact that most of the time I could weasel an orange soda pop out of dad at the end of nine holes. No, what I liked about walking alongside him hole after hole was that I had my dad ALL TO MYSELF. Sometimes we walked silently and just enjoyed the day, and sometimes, poor dad was subjected to 50 million questions — I don't know how he ever concentrated on his game!

Besides being a golf fanatic, Dad is also an avid sports fan, and a big Ohio State supporter. He was horrified to learn that his one and only granddaughter was a Michigan enthusiast. He said of her devotion to Michigan, that it was like “being at war with Russia, and she was on the side of the Russians!” Yep, he's a real Buckeye fan and 20 some years later, my daughter still supports the Maize and Blue. Russians indeed!

My Dad called the 2000 election way before the issue of “hanging chads” was resolved. At my nephew's wedding in November of that year, my dad asked me if I had heard the news that Bush had been declared the winner in the presidential election. He said it with such earnestness that I didn't doubt him for a second. My mistake — I spent the rest of the evening talking about Bush being President Elect with everyone I entered into the most casual of conversations. It wasn't until the end of the night, that I realized my dad had pranked me. To this day, his defense is that he was just early in his forecast of what eventually happened. So what if his eldest daughter looked like an idiot.

The truth of the matter is that in my family, we joke a lot, and consequently we laugh a lot, tell stories a lot, and are noisy a lot. A newcomer has to have a strong constitution to face one of our big family gatherings. But in spite of all that or maybe because of it, we also love a lot. That's what my father and my mother taught us. As my Dad always says, “It's the little things.” So here's to you, daddy — HAPPY 76TH BIRTHDAY!

Until Next Time …

Note this post first published online, October 4, 2007, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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