Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dad's Birthday

If my Dad were still alive, he would have been 94 today. However, he passed away with colon cancer at age 62---so he never got to meet his grandkids. I think of him on this day and know he'd be as proud of my boys as I am. It was so weird---last evening as I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about my Dad and how much he would have loved to see Tennis as such a popular and televised sport today---and how proud he would have been that Max has become quite a good player. I remembered that today would have been his birthday---and then I heard Max doodling on his bass guitar and he started to play Happy Birthday! Now, he didn't even remember that today would have been my Dad's birthday. How weird is that??!!!

At any rate, my Dad was quite a guy. I don't EVER remember him ever using the "F" word or raising his voice--no matter how mad my Mom got. He was always ready with a joke and a twinkle in his eye. The first time he took me outside to teach me tennis, I was in college. My Mom had warned me not to tire him out. However, when we finally came inside, he was fresh as a daisy---it was I who was sweating buckets and panting. He knew all the spins and trick shots so he never had to move on the court. He and his doubles partner won a Michigan State tennis title back in 1934 when he was in High School. His town was so small that they didn't have tennis courts, so my Dad built a court in their back yard and they played every chance they got! Remnants of that court still exist somewhere under the overgrown weeds.

He had learned to read by the time he went to school (at age 4) and because he graduated so young, he spent a year working in his dad's hardware store before going to the University of Michigan, where he got degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Metalurgy. He went on to design bomb casings in the 1960's.

Besides telling jokes, he loved bridge, cribbage, sports on TV, his after-work Manhattan, traveling, photography, doing crossword puzzles in his head, candy, and fishing. Even though he traveled a lot, I was always closer to my Dad than my brother was. In fact, one Christmas he gave me a white football (which I treasured), much to my Mom's dismay. I guess I was more of a tomboy and interested in sports than my brother was. I remember how astounded (and proud) he was the first time I brought a piano action home to work on. He couldn't believe I was so mechanical-minded.

I still miss my Dad and often he still appears in my dreams at night---always the same age he was when I was in High School---young and vibrant. Thanks, Dad, for all you taught me.


JennyD said...

What a beautiful, beautiful and loving post, Sue. I did so enjoy this glimpse into you Dad's life and also your own.
My dad would be 100 this August and yet it seems the other day when he turned 40.
You know, Sue, if you'd been next door and had that great football, I would have played all day at your house -- I was a tomboy, too :D

Ever think it wasn't coincidence that the Happy Birthday song was being strummed out on that very day? I think they're all signs. I think he's pleased as punch at how all of you turned out and this was a way to show he's still around in his own way. It's just another room with an adjoining door is the way I see it. Wonderful post :)

Joe said...

Somehow I'm always encouraged that those we love who have passed are still there somehow pulling for us to succede in all we do. The bible mentions a cloud of witnesses...I believe that our loved ones that have gone before are part of that cloud!

Ramblingon said...

I wanted to comment again on this beautiful meaningful and precious memory that you shared with us. My dad would be in the high 90's himself. He was middle aged just about when he married mother and they had me.

The memory here is sweet and dear. (((HUGS))) for sharing it with us. We care.

caroldee said...

Although I barely remember your dad
the way you have written about him here makes me sad I never got to know him. I see where you got all those things you love to do now.
I think it is good to write about him so that Max and Sean know him better,, Happy Fourth to you!