Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Is This Man?


     Some of my earliest memories are of sand castles. Summer vacations on the beach in Miami or Daytona with my dad spending hours building the most beautiful sand castles with me. This is a man who loves to build things. I remember on those same summer vacations, he would build things in the back seat of the car to make it more fun for my sister and me. One year it was a desk on each window. Somehow it dropped down and we could write and color. One year it a wooden “floor” over the real floor with trap doors that opened to stash our things. This was before seatbelts and air-conditioning. 

     This is the man who held my hand through countless dentist appointments (I always wanted daddy), became president of the school board when he wanted things done the right way and asked me “have I ever told you about sex?” as we were walking down the aisle at my wedding to try to keep a very terrified bride from fainting. That same night I found a very long letter about life, love and marriage tucked secretly into my honeymoon luggage. 

     This man loves to learn. He got his engineering degree, his MBA and various other accolades. He started his career digging ditches and ended it as a top executive for a major company, but he didn’t change. People still tell me stories about how much they liked working for him and how he always treated everyone with respect. He learned to water ski when I did. I was in high school, he was in his 40’s which seemed very old at the time. 

     He is the father of 2 girls, who always said he loved having just girls…until he had grandsons. He bought trucks and tractors, built wooden trains and played and played some more. Now we watch him do it all over again with his 2 little great-grandsons. Of course he also found ways to bond with each of his 4 granddaughters. Each of them would have stories to tell.

     The past year has been the worst of his life. He was 16 when he started dating my mom and 20 when they married. They were a solid unit, a partnership and one of those couples that you didn’t think of as individuals…they were “Bob and Lou”. He could have given up when she died, he could have shut himself into his home and refused to participate in life. He didn’t, even though I am sure there were days he wanted to. He has gotten very involved in a new, smaller church. He has built and painted a deck for the church and helped at a migrant center. He has made several visits to see my Disney daughter, riding roller coasters and pounding the pavement from park opening to park closing. He is doing all the things my mom didn’t want him to do because she was afraid it might kill him. I get messages from my daughter saying that she can’t keep up with grandpa. He has learned to cook. He always did a little cooking, making Sunday brunch or grilling. Now, he really cooks, bakes bread and shares the food with his friends. He swims laps most days, plays golf and enjoys an active social life. He did his own Christmas shopping and hasn’t missed one of our birthdays or special occasions yet. He kept moving even when he didn’t feel like it because he knew we needed him and that my mom would want him to enjoy life while he could. I couldn’t be prouder to call this man my dad.

     So, today as my father turns 85, he looks 70 and acts 12. He makes us laugh, he has been our rock and he provided us with a childhood so wonderful that we knew we were lucky even as children. Happy Birthday Dad!

19 comments:

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Happy Birthday to your Father !!
I hope I am that active at that age. But I don't do roller coasters or water ski. :-D

Barbara F. said...

Happy, happy birthday to your wonderful Dad. He absolutely doesn't look or act like 85! He is an inspiration to all of us. Perhaps he should start a little blog :) xo,

Pondside said...

Happy Birthday to your one-in-a-million Dad! He can't possibly be 85!

Sue said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Dad!! You are all lucky to have each other. I hope this is his best birthday ever. Happy Birthday.

Linda said...

Your dad sounds wonderful...what a nice tribute to him! You are so lucky to have hime your life! Happy birthday to your Dad!!

Duta said...

What a fine tribute to your DAD!
Happy Birthday to him, and may you enjoy his presence in your life for many, long years to come!

xinex said...

Oh Sue, your dad sounds so wonderful, so talented and so loving. You and your family are so lucky to have him...Christine

bj said...

....AND, besides all these amazing facts about him that you've shared with us...
HE IS A HANDSOME DUDE !!

Happiest Birthday to him...may he have many more.
xo bj

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to a great father, who raised a great friend. Your words are so well chosen, Suzy. I hope you give him a copy of this as a birthday present. Christy

Natasha in Oz said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet Dad! You are so right, he does not look 85 at all! How fun to hear that he doesn't act his age! I hope I can be just like that too.

This was a beautful post. Thank you for sharing your special memories with us; I feel so honoured.

Blessings and best wishes always,
Natasha.
xo

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Sue, This is such a beautiful tribute to your dad! Happy Birthday to him!!!! May he have many many more great years!
It sounds like you treasure him, and you certainly should.
God bless you and your dad!
BTW~ Maggie from The White Farmhouse is having an inspirational party. This would be a perfect entry!
Yvonne

The White Farmhouse said...

Blah! I am sitting here crying. What a beautiful tribute to your dad! He sounds like a wonderful man. He has done something right, you realize how lucky you are and appreciate him. I wish your Dad a birthday as wonderful as he is!

Thank you so much for posting this on the party! I am now off to read more of your beautiful blog!

Aunt Snow said...

Wow. What a great guy. this is very touching, since I just visited my mom - who's also 85 - and was able to reminisce about her, her life with my dad, and memories.

Thanks for stopping by, Sue!

koralee said...

Oh my what a lovely story! Your dad sounds amazing...what a blessing. xoxoxo Hugs

Gypsy Heart said...

This made my eyes leak ~ Happy Birthday to your dad! Your childhood and the rest of your life with him sounds amazing...something I can't even imagine. You have so many precious memories to treasure!

xo
Pat

Jenny said...

Oh Sue. What a precious share. Your Dad sounds amazing. I suspect that's why his daughter turned out so amazing herself!

Yolanda said...

Thanks for being so supportive of me. I value our friendship.

dee dee said...

Sue,
Your post has brought tears to my eyes.... what a special tribute to such a wonderful man. We can all learn so much from his pushing forward even in tough times. thanks for sharing your blessing with us.
Dee Dee

Angie said...

What a very special birthday tribute for your dad, Sue. How sweet!