Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

A tribute to my Dad, one of my favorite people on the planet--

My Dad worked for the same company from the moment he graduated from college until the day he retired. He is LOYAL.

My Dad had no training in such things, but somehow he learned to fix every appliance, vehicle, toy, etc. that the 5 females in his life tried to break or wear out. :-D He is SMART.

My Dad planned a family vacation every single year to give us something special to look forward to and remember (and it worked! I have such special memories of our family vacations!) Sometimes they were very simple and inexpensive when the budget required them to be so, but I never knew the difference, and they were always so much fun! He is DEVOTED to his family.

My Dad always looked for an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary to surprise his 4 adoring daughters. I'll never forget the time he spent hours on a cold, cold night winding a hose all up into a tree so that he could run it that night and have us wake up to a massive ice castle! It was the most amazing thing I think I had ever seen at that point in my life, and it still ranks pretty high! He is FUN!

My Dad worked hard all week long every week. (I honestly don't think he ever took a sick day.) Yet he still somehow always found the time and energy to play with 4 energetic little girls in the evenings and on the weekends. He is the OPPOSITE of LAZY.

My Dad lived simply (and still does) so that he could save up to bless his future generations. He is UNSELFISH.

My Dad never hesitated for one second to immediately jump to the aid of those around him who might find themselves in a bind. I remember passing a car full of teenagers in a ditch on my way home one day (when I was a teenager myself). I didn't know them, but I felt sorry for them, so I told my Dad about it when I got home. He was in the middle of something, but he dropped what he was doing and grabbed a chain so that we could go pull them out. I'll never forget the look on the driver's face when he realized the car was fine and that he wouldn't need to call his own Dad (or the cops) to get help. Relief is an understatement. He emptied his wallet and tried to hand it to my Dad, but Dad just shook his head and said, "Just slow down around this curve next time, ok?" He is HELPFUL.

My Dad once used pantyhose to fix our broken-down vehicle on the way home from a long road trip. It's a long story that earned him the nickname "McGyver." He is RESOURCEFUL.

My Dad often came home to 10+ chattering little girls having a "slumber party" all over his living room floor. I doubt this was the most relaxing thing he could think of after a long week at work, but he never complained, and all of my friends thought he was just wonderful. He is PATIENT.

My Dad enjoyed rewarding us for our achievements, but he first taught us to work hard to earn them. He is PRACTICAL.

My Dad instilled in me my love of NFL football by sitting with me on Sunday afternoons and just hanging out and talking while the games were on. It was hard to find one-on-one time with him with 3 sisters, but somehow this became "my time." He is AWESOME.

My Dad is never more happy than when he is surrounded by his grandchildren, whether it be helping them learn to fish, pushing them on the swing for the millionth time, skimming the pool so it's perfect when they show up to swim, fixing a bike that one of them has abused, spending weeks building up a wood pile for the perfect bon fire, etc., etc., etc. He is LOVING.

My Dad still gets playfully teased by colleagues for the way he conducted himself in the midst of "big oil" world. Apparently, integrity is not mandatory in this business, and yet he was one of the few who actually had it. He is HONEST.

My Dad didn't just speak; he lived what he spoke. Which is good, because I remember his actions much better than I remember his words. ;-) He is a WONDERFUL EXAMPLE to his children and grandchildren.

My Dad took me for a looong walk one evening shortly after I developed a condition called bels palsy. He had a business trip coming up on the day that I was supposed to go have a bunch of tests run, and he wanted me to know that he would cancel it if I was scared and needed him to stay home. (I told him I was ok, and everything turned out fine, but clearly his willingness to stay had a big impact on me since I still remember it over 25 years later. :-D) He is CARING.

My Dad had a retirement party several years ago, and every single person he had ever worked for (who was still alive) showed up to celebrate with him. He is RESPECTED.

My Dad is the first person I call when I need advice on some big life decision like buying a house, car issues, etc. He is WISE.

My Dad raised 4 daughters (and is helping with 10 grandchildren) who love, adore and respect him beyond words. This is not because he demands this of us. It is because he lives in such a way that he has EARNED it!

I love you SO MUCH, Dad!!! I hope today is just perfect, and I CAN'T WAIT to see you at Christmas time!!!

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