Long before he was ever my dad, he was somebody's little darling. A little boy who loved to run and play with his older brother, who couldn't sit still in school, and who made the mistake of calling his father a "son of a gun". He got into plenty of trouble throwing rocks at his uncle's bull, water on passing cars, and chickens out the haymow window. He had a girlfriend named Jane Ellen, a dog named Pal, and 46 first cousins. He loved boats and water, and even a spanking couldn't keep him away from Irondequoit Bay. He joined the Naval Reserves and went to Cuba, but they sent him back home because one of his legs was stunted and shriveled by polio. He married my mom in 1953 and together they moved to "the farm" where he accidentally locked Mom in the chicken coop. She had open toed shoes and red painted toenails, and was none too happy with the experience of chickens pecking relentlessly at her feet. Dad took us camping almost every summer, washed our dirty feet in the bathroom sink, and on cold winter days threatened to warm his icy hands on our warm tummies. He drew pictures for us and with us, read bedtime stories, and taught us to pray. He still sings songs and plays his guitar and harmonica, teases his grandchildren, and laughs at his own childhood antics. I wouldn't trade him for the world!
Rachel called me from our parents house this evening around 6 o'clock. She and Dave had picked up an ice cream cake and stopped over with the boys to see Dad and wish him a happy 76th birthday. Priscilla and Jamie were there with the kids. She wondered if we would be stopping by too? How should they cut the cake? I didn't know quite how to answer. James wasn't home and neither was Hannah. I had just returned home myself. I suddenly felt teary, like I was supposed to be there, but I wasn't. I didn't know what to do or say when she handed the phone to Dad. "You can come to my birthday next year," he said, a smile in his voice. I wanted to cry. What had I been thinking? Why hadn't we actually planned to gather together? No one had intentionally left us out, it just happened this way. I'll see my dad tomoroow morning at church. I'll give him a hug and wish him another good year. He will hug me back and likely wish me aonther good year too. Maybe next year we'll remember and plan a birthday party.
3 hours ago