Last year on his birthday, he was recovering from triple bypass surgery. I admit I didn’t think he’d have that birthday. Or this one.
It’s 2011 and he still has not turned on a computer. He’s consistent that way.
This year, in honor of his birthday, I thought I’d list 79 things about my dad or about what I’ve learned from him.
Ambitious, I know.
But here goes:
1 My dad loves his grandchildren. A lot. This is him with Davis in 1995. They’ve both changed a lot since then. Davis has more hair. My dad has less.
2 He never loses his sense of humor
3 He talks to strangers (I learned this from him – much to Andrew’s chagrin)
4 He used to carry helium and balloons in his trunk
5 He used to carry Planter’s roasted peanuts in his car – and more in the trunk for emergency backup
6 He’s a great writer – concise and to the point
7 He was a featherweight boxer
8 He was the captain of his college chess team at Hopkins
9 He went to medical school. For a while.
10 He once declared a dog dead on the side of the road. And then it got up and left.
11 He has short term memory loss.
12 He has long term memory loss.
13 Okay, fine. He has memory loss!
14 His hearing is bad – some from age, some from flying, some from shooting guns without ear protection.
15 He was a pilot
16 He still has his motorcyclist license
17 He drives a motorscooter
18 Oh no, I’m only to 18? I may not make it.
19 He used to dust the floor with my hair – holding me upside down.
20 Every day he’d come home from work and say “I’m home to you!”
21 He’s driven in almost all the U.S. states.
22 Speaking of driving, he’s driven hundreds of thousands of miles.
23 Maybe I should list the places he’s been. That’d finish the list
24 He used to work for Parke Davis
25 He started a magnet company when I was little (it still exists)
26 He used to go to schools to teach the kids about magnets
27 He always had a spot for the high school kids from the jobs program
28 He treated his employees like family
29 I worked there. Hey wait, I am family
30 He loves spaghetti. Well, what’s not to love?
31 He really loves lima beans too. So do I. My mom hates them, but made them anyway.
32 He used to cook – his specialty? Milk soup. With dumplings.
33 He built a boat for my sibs and me to ride in the stream behind our house when we were little. The Jungle Queen.
34 He built a zipline circa 1968 INSIDE our house in the playroom. (my mother hated that)
35 He likes Irish whiskey.
36 Oh my. Really, I’m only to 36?
37 He taught me to read a map when I was 5
38 He taught me to make my own decisions with a mental version of a decision tree. When I was really young. It’s served me well
39 He let me take chances
40 He and my mom taught me to manage money – I had a savings account for as long as I can remember and a checking account since I was about 13
41 My dad taught me to drive. And lived through it.
42 He made up words. I’ll list a few to use up some numbers here.
43 Wook (means milk)
45 Pamplemouse (well, it’s not made up, but it doesn’t really mean thank you, either)
46 He has a business card that says “My Card”
47 And another “Golfer Emeritus”
48 He also has a business card that says “Vyisder Zomanimor Orsisassis Zenzeris Oris”
49 Oh and he used to put cards on parked cars that said “Thanks for taking 2 parking spaces. I had to park 2 blocks away…”
50 He called our cats “dog”
51 He has a collection of fleas dressed in clothing. It was his father’s
52 He also has teensy little cap guns. Really teensy.
53 Oh, and he has half-dimes, too
54 He gave my boys ha’pennies (they love those)
55 He hides dollars for my guys whenever he comes over
56 He loves my mom – they’ve been married almost 53 years. (maybe I shoulda said this earlier. Sorry, Mom.)
57 He always checked the pay phones for spare change and taught us to do the same.
58 Good thing, because he used to seed those pay phones for us.
59 He has an amazing vocabulary
60 He pronounces some words wrong on purpose – to be funny
61 He loves Mental Floss (so do I!)
62 He’s a big fan of Columbo – watches all the reruns. Each time it’s a surprise ending. (see #13)
63 He plans his breakfast the night before
64 He has a cell phone though I don’t think he’s ever used it
65 He calls cucumbers “poisoncumbers”
66 He calls the top layer of pudding “garrapy”
67 He doesn’t like green peppers
68 He doesn’t like Mexican Food, cumin, smoky flavors
69 He loves cinnamon tic tacs (if you know where to get these, let me know!)
70 He carries red pepper powder with him, just in case he needs it (pizza, pasta, etc.)
71 He spent summers in North Carolina – and the accent creeps back every once in a while
72 He used to take us on Sunday adventures – long drives with a fun destination
73 He has 9 grandchildren – but mine are his favorite (okay, Jamie et.al. I’m just kidding)
74 He has relatives that fought on both sides of the Civil War
75 I’ve only seen him in shorts once in my life
76 He recently got his first pair of jeans
77 He’s a fun-loving guy
78 He looks at every day as an adventure
79 I really love him
Happy Birthday, Dad!