Friday, November 11, 2011

Turning 39 One More Time

I used to still think my dad was is the coolest. That's the thing about having such a great dad. The older I get, the cooler he becomes. Yesterday, my dad turned *ahem* fifty! If you ask him, he's still 39, but I'll let him tell that to whomever will believe it. It's the least I could do. It is his birthday, after all.

He's accomplished a lot in fifty years and I've been lucky enough to be a part of the last twenty seven. Growing up as an Army brat, his childhood stories were always my favorite. I still love to hear him recount his teenage years in Germany at Pirmasens American Junior High School. I was amazed how many broken bones resulted from silly boy bets (girls just don't do that!) and, even more, I loved the stories of he and my mom meeting in high school in Montgomery and working together on the yearbook. Thanks to facebook for these gems from PAJH:


It's amazing how quickly time passes sometimes. Just last week, he was teaching me to ride a bike; and a few days later, to drive a car, making me drive in circles in the same Jeff Davis High School parking lot where he learned to drive. Dad is the reason I love a lot of things. He introduced me to good coffee and foreign cuisine. He made sure my vocabulary was never lacking, enforcing use of the "word of the day" each day. Because of that, I use words like copious and perfunctory on a regular basis. He encourages patriotism with our homework assignment each Independence Day and encourages goofiness always, which I appreciate (sans the span of my tweens in which he was the most embarrassing dad in the whole world).

He's a talented writer and an even better speaker. I may have gotten my love of writing from him, but the talent of speech did not make it my way. I am in awe of how he commands a room, whether it were a PTA meeting at my elementary school, a program with Alabama's Junior Miss, or even his Sunday School class. He is well liked, appreciated, respected. 

He's the person people call when they need help (partly because he never sleeps, but mostly because they know he'll be there for them wholly). He's involved, invested, and dependable; but most importantly, he has a good time. It's no wonder why he's always surrounded by people. They just want to join in on the fun.

I've been racking my brain for something deeply moving and symbolic of his fifty years on this earth, an analogy that would sum up the weight of it all. But all I could think of is how glad I am that he was born fifty years ago, and that if I am half the person he's taught me to be when I'm fifty, I'll consider myself blessed.

Fifty looks good on you, Dad. You wear it well.

Happy Birthday, Dad (Poppa)! Thank you for being you. We love you so very much!

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