Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy birthday, Dad

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Daddy! Happy birthday to you!!!

My goodness. Time does fly! I can remember the fun, silly man, the one who always tried to make everyone laugh. The time my father dressed up like Fred Rodgers, complete with zip- up sweater singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...."

Another time, with a large tin can upon his head breathing heavily like Darth Vader stating, "Luke, I am your father."

Or once, in J. C. Penney's, a fedora cocked sideways on his head while we walked through the men's department, pretending to be Hannibal Lector in the final scenes of "Silence of the Lambs."

This soft-spoken, good-hearted man, who walked through life seemingly without a care in the world. But there were cares. When I was 13 years old, laying in a hospital bed in Children's Hospital, my parents stood by stoically, trying to make light of the seriousness of spinal surgery. Dad would invent some crazy song or antic to make me laugh. He'd poke fun at the nurses and doctors, calling them all sorts of humorous names behind their backs. Day after day, he'd drive himself and Mom to visit me, though driving to Pittsburgh wasn't something he liked to do.

My rock, my strength. A man who was there in times when my mother was hospitalized when I was a little girl. A man who took the time to build crystal radios with me, paint little football men in an old game, explain word problems in math one more time. Walk me back to bed, when upon waking in the night, I'd need the reassurance that everything was alright. Explain the plays yet again to the tiring questions I asked while watching Steeler games with him. A man who never put himself before anyone. Humble, simple, loving and kind. These words don't do my Dad justice.

In 1999 my father was rushed to the hospital. A quadruple heart bypass would follow. My brother and I thought we might lose him at that time. Dad not only pulled through, but today, March 6, he turns Eighty-three.

God has been good to our family. I'm blessed to have both my parents and consider every day a gift with them. Though we've seen hard times through the years, our deep love and humor carries us through life's journey.

Happy birthday, Dad. When I grow up, I want to be just like you. All my love. . .

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