It's his birthday today. He's 71. But I don't know how he is 71 and I'm 47 (almost 48) because this:
seems like it just happened yesterday. It was the year my brother Curt wanted a reindeer for Christmas. I don't know how my parents found this blow-up version.
For years, my dad was Edgerton Ohio's town Santa. I'm only a year old in this picture, but I'm sure, even then, I suspected it was my dad underneath the beard.
This is a picture from around 1970. Most pictures from my childhood have my mum in them, because my dad was behind the camera.
I'm pretty sure his patience was running thin - just look at the ornery looks on us kid's faces!
The thing I remember the most about dad from my childhood was that he could fix absolutely anything. He still can. I'd like to think I inherited this determination from him, but if I'm honest - it's his stubbornness I've inherited!!
I also get my sense of humor from him. I swear, if there was a contest to determine who could tell the most stories, crack the most jokes, and sing the most songs - my dad would win. He loves making people laugh. So do I.
And he has this terrible habit of sticking his finger up his nose in pictures. Be glad I'm only posting one of them here.
He is a pretty amazing cook - a master at grilling and smoking meat. Growing up, there was always a can of bacon grease in the refrigerator, saved from mornings when he would cook breakfast. There is nothing better than eggs and hash browns cooked in bacon grease.
And his wife, Shirley, puts up with his shenanigans. She deserves a medal. I love her for loving him!
One of my favorite qualities of my dad is his generosity. If you are in need, he is there. Back in the 1970's, he was part of a small group of people who started the volunteer EMS in my hometown. He was also a volunteer fireman. If you were his neighbor, he would shovel your walk. If you needed help fixing something, he was there. If you needed someone to move you from New Mexico to Ohio after grad school was over, he had your back. I remember calling him on 9/11. Along with the rest of the country, I was sad and freaking out. My dad told me he was going to drive to Wisconsin and bring me home. We were both so scared. I talked him out of the trip, but just knowing he would come if I needed him made me feel better.
And in case you hadn't noticed, he looks like Wilfred Brimley (diabeetus!) Happy Birthday, Papa.