And Now We Are 75

Today is my dad, Peter’s 75th birthday.

When I was younger, 75 seemed so old. Over the past few years, I, and my family, have said goodbye to a number of people of all ages. I have many friends who no longer have their dads. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I am eternally grateful that my dad, who is also one of my best friends, is still here.

I know that’s heavy for a birthday blog entry, but whatever. I’m 40 now and somehow it makes me feel entitled to say or write whatever I want.

Years ago, when my dad had some heart related scares, I wondered if this day would come. I don’t know that I specifically thought of the number 75, but I know I thought of his mortality, including within a selfish context; would he meet his grandchildren? Would he walk me down the aisle? The window for grandkids has now shut, but no matter. Despite how much I know he’d enjoy being a granddad, he does not let it show that he misses it. Instead, he is wild for his “granddoggy” and for that I am grateful, because it’s really all I got for either of my parents right now.

My dad Peter is thoughtful, compassionate, smart. My dad is funny. My earliest memory of him making a joke was when I asked him why the tuxedo he was putting on had a stripe down the side of each leg? He responded without word by pretending to pick his nose and then wipe it down the tux’s side leg stripe clearly designed to hide boogers. It was about the funniest thing I’d heard in my six years.

Today his jokes are less snot-driven, but still pretty good.

He is a loyal friend. Years ago, when a friend of his lost his mom, my dad went to visit. Later when I asked him how it went, what did he do?  He told me that his friend was making his mom’s pierogis (perhaps for the gathering following the funeral?), and Dad joined him. The friend taught Dad how to fold the pierogis, and the two men stood next to each other, likely silently, hand-folding pierogis until the batch was completed.

He is a faithful husband. My Mom is his best friend. There are too many stories to tell there, so I’ll just leave it at that.

My dad is the master waffle maker, a boat builder, a proud brother, a former skier (though accidents always happened during ski trips and I am perfectly happy that the skis have been retired, unlike my dad, who I don’t think will ever retire), and a dog whisperer. He loves apple pie and black raspberry ice cream, but not at the same time. His car is always a mess, but he’s happy as long as it’s running. When I was a kid and sometimes even still today, and we were at a restaurant with paper napkins, Dad would often pull a pen out of his pocket and tell us about something that required a sketch. He would make beautiful doodles while explaining a dovetail joint. He loves classical music and jazz, and was once in a band called The Hot Spiders. He is active in his town and I am proud to think of all the major improvements that he’s contributed to.

My dad is a giant softie. When my pet rabbit died while I was away at college, my Mom later reported to me that as the two of them stood next to Nicholson’s cage, Dad looked down at the furry friend solemnly and wondered aloud “Do you think he had a good life?”

That rabbit was spoiled rotten.

My dad is an architect and still working. These days, he’s working on an office building, and it’s so fun to talk to him about it and hear how excited he is about the project.

My dad makes the best margarita’s, orders very dry vodka martinis on the rocks with a twist when eating out on the weekends, and makes perfect scrambled eggs with chives added in.

He never met a hardware store or an epoxy glue he didn’t like, and if you have empty yogurt containers, he’s your guy (he always needs them for some building project or another).

I could go on but I have to save something for his 80th.

Happy birthday, Dad! I love you!

 

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