Happy one more time around the sun dad. Ninety-two years old, did you ever think you would see this day?
Happy birthday dad, yes, it is time for my annual thank you, even though I do try to show you my appreciation often. I am still working on a present for you, because, what do you give one who has given so much? What do you give to one, who needs nothing? But to be remembered on this day. I do know, that it isn’t the gift we give to you, it is simply remembering you on those special days. I do hope, that as time has its way, it never takes from me the gifts and memories that you gave to us.
How many lessons, did you teach us over the years?
You were our protector. Vividly I recall the night, when all the lights were turned off and we were supposed to be drifting into sleep, when I heard the sound. There was something in my bedroom besides me. Not a monster under the bed as this horror in the night, had wings. I don’t recall my age, possible preteen? All I know is I called out to the one I knew would protect and rescue me. It did take calling you four times, by the fourth you moved quicker in turning on the light and saw that it was not my imagination but a large bat that had gotten inside the house.
Between you and mom, you got it out of my room, closed the door to the bedroom my brothers shared and we listened as you chased the uninvited guest from the house. You even came back to apologize for getting angry with me.
How to fish. Which holds many lessons within a lesson. We learned all the necessary parts to fishing, catching bait, rigging the line, catching the fish, removing said fish, cleaning said fish and oh yes, enjoying the meal. But in that, we learned patience, how to be quiet and still, how to take care of ourselves through what we caught. I think of the three, I am the one who appreciated fishing the most. One brother loved hunting as you did while the other sports such as baseball. I know too looking back now, that you often took us fishing to give mom a needed and appreciated break.
Responsibility. For a while you bred and raised hunting dogs, Pointer bird dogs to be more precise. You gave us the responsibility of making sure they stayed in their kennels, that they had food and water. You didn’t have to tell us to exercise them, that part was a joy.You taught us to work hard for what we needed and wanted. That if we were going to have a job, we needed to work that job. Be there, be on time, work the set hours. Do the very best of your ability and leave satisfied knowing you gave it your best. But leave it there, don’t bring it home with you.
Take time for family. Our vacations were varied, from the mountains to the sea. From walking trails to roller coasters in theme parks. We were together, we enjoyed the moments and cherish the memories. Such as the time it took me nearly a lifetime to cross that suspension bridge, or running from a swarm of bees. The time sitting in a hotel room watching a storm raging, seeing that sheet of tin fly into the power lines sending everything into darkness. The times you took us out among the barrier islands off the coast of NC so that my toddler son could laugh, wade and gather shells. Shells that I to this day still have. Somewhere tucked away is that two dollar bill the two of you found also.
Take time for friends. You cleared away that overgrown side of the yard and created a small, make do soft ball field. It sloped downhill meaning if we weren’t quick enough, we were chasing the ball quite a way. But they came. Friends, neighbors, friends of neighbors, all came to play ball. We had a wonderful time making those memories.
Now, as time does what time does, you are giving us the opportunity to return the love. To help you as we are able, to find those who can do what we can’t. You give us the chance to prove that we listened and learned what you taught us for all these years. We try to do as we can to take care of everything you have created and built. We try to show you the love, you have shown us.
Happy birthday dad. May you be blessed with many, many more. I love you.