My Dad's birthday was last week. I wanted to do a birthday post on his day but had just emerged from the laundry room so my head wasn't quite in the space to adequately do a tribute post. Most of the laundry's been put away so I can focus on it now.
Where to start? On the light side, my Dad is a funny guy. He likes one-liners and quips. He makes up his own jokes about nearly anything. He's most prolific around election times, no matter who's running, but you always know which side he leans toward based on where his punch line is aimed. He repeats alot of his jokes and that can make us all crazy sometimes. But if we all really admitted it, we'd hate it if he stopped with all the "dumb jokes", as Mom calls them.
He gave up telling dumb jokes for Lent the last two years. That may have been harder for him that giving up his 40-year cigarette habit. He gave up both and that's how much he loves my mom. Mom enjoyed those 80 days but I believe I saw a twinkle return to her eye after Easter.
My favorite Dad jokes are the fake book titles with made-up authors. The best one that never fails to make me laugh is the ever popular adventure novel, "Fight with a Tiger" by Claude Balls. I'm sorry. Our family's sense of humor can be a bit base. But admit it, that's funny!
Dad is the best grandfather. He acts like a kid with the kids. He puts up with some crazy grandkid ideas. My boys think he is so funny and as mischievous as they are.
Dad is the original recycler. He saves everything with the intention of reusing it one day. He has stuff literally stuffed in little hidey-holes all over the house. He's not a hoarder like you see on tv; he's a collector and a very organized one. Sundry hardware items salvaged from some long dead machine, wooden peg nails handhewn by our great-great-great grandsomebody, things no one else can recognize. He knows the story behind everything he keeps. And everything he keeps has significance. His collections have value. He and my mom have the eye for antiques and have accumulated many, many nice pieces.
He's green too. When I was an angst-filled teen, it infuriated me that Dad, being in charge of household trash, used plastic grocery bags for trash bin liners. It embarassed me to think that we wouldn't buy proper trash bags. The ridiculous nature of this is not lost on me: buying trash bags to put your trash in to throw away equals throwing away money. (Not to mention the environmental reasons for not generating more plastic in the landfills.) I don't know what Dad was thinking when he started his little trash collection method. But I think of Dad everytime I empty my bathroom trash bin and insert a "new" grocery bag in the can.
Dad writes poetry. Not poems about flowers or the morning dew. He writes poems about the people he loves. He writes poems as gifts, tributes and to commemorate important family events. My mom gets poems on her birthday and anniversary. My brothers and I and our spouses were all honored with a personally crafted poem at our weddings. With champagne glass in hand, Dad read his poems to us from index cards held with one barely trembling hand and imparted his love, hopes and dreams for our newly married lives all in nice rhyming meter. If I didn't say it then Dad, B and I thank you. Those words mean so much, then and now.
My Dad loves my mom. Like any couple who has been together nearly three-quarters of their lives, they have been through hell and paradise together.
I'm just an outsider looking in on their story. I only know what I've seen. But looking at my own marriage, knowing what we've shared in only a fraction of the time my parents have been together, I can only imagine the depths of love, forgiveness and understanding that is required to make it 53 years, 8 months and 1 week together. I may be off by a day or two, but I bet Dad knows the exact count. That's how much he values their life together; taking it one day at a time and cherishing each day.
Dad, I hope you had a blessed day. Would have loved to share it with you. We'll celebrate soon! Love you!