Happy Birthday Dad!

DadSuit

Today would have been my dad’s 80th Birthday. He was a football star, a loan officer at a bank, an avid fishermen, and a genuinely good man. His humor and laid back demeanor made him a pleasure to be around.

At his funeral, elderly men came to me with tears in their eyes saying that my father had been their dearest friend. Some told funny stories about wild college parties, mishaps on fishing trips, and practical jokes played decades ago. Others shared how his generosity blessed them. A tailor who immigrated from Mexico with his family said that no one would give them a loan to open a new business when they arrived in the U.S. My dad, however, took the time to get to know them and made the loan. The business and family thrived.

My dad taught more by example than with eloquent speeches. Here are some lessons he taught me:

  • No matter how wonderful or painful your past, the present is where to put your attention. Old stories are fun to recount, but keep creating new ones.
  • Invest time, energy, fun and heart in true friends. The return on investment is worth the effort.
  • Whatever happens, just roll with it. The phrases “I have a hangnail” and “the car caught on fire today” would get about the same reaction out of him. He approached life with a calm pragmatism that readily accepted what is (sometimes with a few expletives for good measure) and then moved forward.
  • You’re never too old to act silly. I remember watching him put on my old Halloween mask of The Cowardly Lion, wrap a blanket around himself,  and roar and play with our dog Skippy, who wasn’t sure if it was really a lion or dad. Personally, if I were Skippy, I would have bitten him either way.
  • The more seriously you take yourself and life, the less you enjoy it. My dad was always joking and being mischievous. When I was a baby, the police detained and castigated several neighborhood kids for shooting off fireworks illegally. They were particularly harsh, however, with the one adult in the gang: my dad.
  • When you can’t do what you used to be able to do, enjoy and celebrate what you still can do.
  • Live in such as way that at your funeral, the tears flow just as much from laughter as from sorrow.

Thank you Dad for all you taught me. I miss you and love you. Happy Birthday!

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12 Responses to Happy Birthday Dad!

  1. Kathryn says:

    Scott, thank you for sharing a beautiful remembrance of your Dad. I love that he was so calm and grounded, and yet spunky enough to get in a little trouble for some good fun. I will always
    miss my Dad, he would be 100 on Saturday.

    • scott says:

      Kathryn, I’m grateful you took the time to read and comment about my dad. He was wonderful in so many ways. When you have a chance, I’d love to learn more about your dad. Sending you and him good thoughts and love as you remember him on his 100th birthday!

  2. Monette L. Taylor says:

    Beautiful story about an amazing man, Scott! (Good-looking, too!!) You, obviously, inherited some great things from him, too. I’ll be calling you guys, soon. Love to you both!

  3. Jane says:

    Scott, Just for the record you and your dad already got my tears flowing with these beautiful words. Thank you for sharing. This makes me want to write a list of what my parents have taught me now before I can’t share it with them. I wish I had met your parents, even just to say “Thank you for bringing such a wonderful person into this world”.

    • scott says:

      Thank you sweet Jane. What a lovely thought to share lessons learned with your parents. I’m so honored to have you as a friend and am so glad I’ve met CJ and look forward at some point to hopefully meeting your parents in Toronto. I think somehow my mom and dad heard your sweet message today.

  4. val says:

    Beautiful Scott, Happy Birthday to your Dad.

  5. Your dad sounds like he was a pretty amazing guy. That’s no surprise to me after getting to know how amazing YOU are! What great lessons he taught you. Thank you for sharing them!

    • scott says:

      Thank you Scott. Yes, he was an amazing guy. I continue to remind myself of the lessons he taught me that I so easily forget. So, writing the blog entry was really a birthday gift from him to me…recalling the wise, sweet, joyful way he lived. Thank you so much for your encouragement and smiling friendship. Love, Scott

  6. Julie Bowman says:

    Ah, so you got a head start on your own calm demeanor and that mischievous twinkle in your eye!
    Wonderful life lessons to ponder, Scott. Thanks for introducing us to your dad and his wisdom and his bright spirit. Today would have been my dad’s 86th birthday!
    Love,
    Julie

    • scott says:

      Happy Birthday Julie to your dad today! Somewhere perhaps in some way they are celebrating together. Love, Scott

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