Sunday, June 15, 2008

We had a Father's Day breakfast today for my dad, who is going to turn 80 in two days. There were about a dozen of us at the Holiday Inn paying tribute to one of the most handsome, dapper 80 year old dudes you would ever call yourself lucky enough to meet. He was feeling pretty special- having all three of his daughters in attendance. It is a rare occasion when we are all in one place, along with kids and grandkids (his great grandkids)who were lined up in high chairs and feeling very much a part of this noisy, hectic, but safe group we call family.

We gave him cards and various sums of money. What do you buy a guy who wants for nothing? He wakes up each day smiling and joking and happy just to be who he is. He has been an inspiration to all of us, and has taught us how to smile, sometimes through pain - and that humor can heal a broken heart if you will let it.

He also taught us the value of hard work and always being there for those you brought into this world. There has never been a day when I have gone to him, and he has made me feel he was too busy to sit and chat with me over a cup of coffee about what might be troubling me. He has a knack for making you feel like the most important person in his life at the moment you are spending with him. He has been a tower of strength for each of us at one time or another, and a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.

He worked as a railroad man for 35 years to put food on our table. We never wanted for a clean home or the security of a warm breakfast and dinner. He provided that, helped by mom of course, who worked tirelessly as well. I always remember him as the one who coaxed us out of bed in the morning and greeted us with a warm bowl of oatmeal. He still makes the oatmeal every day. A treat for us when we visit.

I called myself lucky this morning to see that cool old guy circulating around both tables and giving hugs and kisses to all of us who love him so dearly. We are better for having him in our lives, and we know it. Happy Father's Day to the best dad a family could have.