My parents both celebrate a BIG number of candles on the cake this year, and Dad’s birthday is Saturday. You can read Monday’s letter to Mom HERE.
I followed you from Texas to Germany to Kentucky back to Germany and back to Texas again; you’ve always had a way of making things circle back around.
There is not a joke you have not heard, prank you have not pulled, engine you cannot fix. I married a guy like you. You are prefer kids to adults, quiet to loud, and jeans to suits. My husband married someone like you. You are a peacemaker in community and a troubleshooter by trade… and a bit of a trouble-maker by nature. I have a few children like you.
My children think you live next door but won’t come to visit. The daily phone calls from Texas about anything and everything make up many miles and months of absence. You are a terrible cook, you secretly took 2-step lessons so we could dance together at my wedding, and you regularly buy my children gum. I have watched you lead men in formation, chaperone mom’s 2nd-graders’ field trips, and carry sick animals to the vet. Because of you, I have an unhealthy but deep understanding of Fleetwood Mac’s personal history and discography. I’m ok with it.
I remember you at my age. I remember that you were quiet and that you liked m&ms and that we never, ever ate pizza. We always ate dinner together as a family no matter how late you came home, and we always went to church on Sunday. Life after the military career has suited you well: you work for yourself, go out dancing with Mom every Friday night, and call my kids every day at lunch. I like this way this 2nd life breathes a little more for you.
Thank you for showing me the world before I could drive, for making your soldiers buy all my Girl Scout cookies, and for keeping all my friends’ cars running smoothly. Thank you for driving across the country with me and walking me down the aisle, for being the first person to her most of my stories, for having so many fun toys at your house.
Happy birthday, Daddy. Here’s to you.
Gus Man wants to know where you at?