Happy Birthday Dad!

talliswithgrandpa.jpg

If you know my Dad, you would know he always receives the same things for his Birthday- White Tube Socks, White Undershirts, the same style of Levi’s he has worn since about 1984, a Travel mug and Tools. He is either a man of simple needs, or an aging guy who is getting the short end of the stick year after year because no one else can break out of doing the same thing they have always done. Either way, he puts them to good use and is always appreciative of these useful items. That is called humility. I wonder though, how many years he has put ‘Red Corvette’ or ‘Ride along in a Blue Angel’ or ‘Remington Model 7400 Hunting Rifle’ on his wish list, only to open up yet another three-pack of socks (you know, the kind with the colored stripe on the top cuff). ‘Cuz I know that is likely the stuff he really wants. But more and more, that predictability is the thing I appreciate the most about the guy. To some, aging parents are laughable, they reach the stage in life when they become mature, reliable and dependable. In other words, boring, predictable and conventional in our eyes. Dads always have quirks that we once perhaps viewed as so un-cool. Like belting out the Beach Boys on the car Radio, doing his best high-pitched ‘Fun fun fun ’til her Daddy took the T-bird awa-ay’ probably in part an underlying warning to his two daughters, who simply rolled their eyes at his Moldy Oldies. Or how we joke that age enables you to be able to talk incessantly about the good old days. My Dad has that one covered. Constantly a story teller of his experiences and accomplishments, regardless the topic of conversation he always has one to pull out. Especially good are the injury ones- the one where he ripped his ear off on a guy wire while snowmobiling, the chainsaw to the knee one, the broken Femur out in Onion Valley pinned for hours under a half-telephone pole on top of a red ant hill until Paramedics could come haul him out along a bumpy dirt road all the while with a leg put in traction wrong grating bone against bone. His stories reinforce he is a weathered old mountain man, one of the Originals. Yes, he lived in Truckee when there was only one stop sign. And he wears it as a badge, earned through the cumulation of years and experiences enduring the turmoil and changes life throws, yet through it all remaining a steady force. That is who he is- steady, reliable. Those are the undercurrents of all my memories that rise up when I think of my Dad. My stories- of him blowing out the driveway over and over, of him teaching me to change the oil in my car, of him taking me hiking amongst the tumbling granite in the role the Forrest Ranger imparting to me the knowledge he carries about the natural environment around us. But isn’t that what our history is about? The stories we carry from our life experiences shared with one another that define who we cumulatively are? The places we have been and the memories we carry away then passed along and built upon through time, relationships and shared experiences? Even if my Dad got a hot vintage roadster, it would only make for more stories, more predictability, simply because that is who he is. So as he has another year under his belt, he likely has another new Black&Decker tool set from Sears to accompany it. And though I laugh at the repetition, it reinforces to me the person my Dad is, causing me to reflect on those things he has been to me and reinforce my respect for his steadfast love. I can however, poke fun at him and encourage him to go ahead and buy himself that Car, he can use up the small fortune he has been amassing from not having to buy shampoo. Happy Birthday, Dad!

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~ by gdesign on December 12, 2007.

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday Dad!”

  1. What a cool bunch of memories with your Dad.

  2. Happy Birthday, Natalie’s Dad!
    (aren’t dads the best?!)

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