Going back to 1933 for this one: eighty-four years ago, to be exact. This rapscallion was born in Beaverton, Oregon, though most of his growing up happened in Seattle.
I know this is a cliche, but in my dad’s case it’s the truth: he’s never known a stranger. Dad plain old loves people. He loved all four of us kids (even when he had to rescue us at midnight or bail us out of trouble). He loved everyone we brought home with us (even those that moved in). He loved our music (my nephew once took him to a heavy metal concert). And, with all his heart, he has loved Mom since he was fifteen, and she was thirteen.
Favorite memories with Dad? All those baseball games he played with us and the neighbor kids. Those stories he told about the Glibby-Glurb on long car rides. He was my friends’ favorite designated driver to those awful junior high dances at the Lake City Community Center. Afterwards, he’d buy us french fries at Dick’s, somehow easing the pain of having been wallflowers all evening. There was the year he was elected Queen of the Kelp Festival (long story). And I will always treasure the memory of his joining me at the Newbery banquet in Washington, D.C. (my favorite quote from that night: “you never told me this was such a big deal.”) It’s been pure joy to watch him meet each of his grandkids and, now, great-grandkids and enjoying his delight in them for who they are, period. I’ve never seen anyone (aside from my mom!) love on littles like he does.
My dad gives money to the people with signs on the street corner. He’s a generous tipper. He asks me for autographed books to give to the kids of his favorite waitresses. Once, when he was oh-so-very sick, his very strict/former nun nurse conspired with us to bring his dog in to visit him in the hospital should he not get better by the next day (he got better). Everyone breaks the rules for my dad. Because.
As a type-A Leo, that has always made me a little bit crazy.
And a lot proud.
Happy Birthday, Dad.