Happy Birthday Daddy
Today is my father's birthday. He would have been 92.
Dad died five years ago on Valentine's Day from a stroke and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. The picture to the left is Dad and Mom's first Christmas after they got engaged. I didn't find this photo until after they were both gone, and then only the negative. (I guess it wasn't one of Mom's favs.)
Dad was a Southern gentleman who left the South and came to New York to find his fortune. Considering it was during the depression, anything was better than manual labor in Virginia.
He wouldn't use foul language in front of a woman, although he could curse with the best of them. He was a Democrat his entire life. He hated Nixon, and didn't have much more respect for Eisenhower. I think the only time he ever voted Republican for President was Reagan in his second term but nobody's perfect.
He broke his hip playing football in high school and, because of a metal plate inserted there, walked with a limp. In many places, he was considered a cripple and said that he had to work twice as hard as everyone else to earn half as much. Yet his disability didn't stop him from carrying 200 pound sides of beef on his shoulder, or from chasing his kids around Disney World when he was in his 50's.
Dad loved my Mom dearly. He suffered with her when it was discovered she had cancer, and swore up until the day he died that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. We always thought that Dad couldn't live without Mom but later found out that they drew their strength from each other.
I could write a book about my Dad, like all the times in high school when we didn't get along and had daily screaming matches. Or in his declining years, when he needed my hand to help lift him out of his chair.
I got the call while I was at work. He had suffered a stroke and was in the emergency room. Dad was paralyzed on his right side but he was alert and his prognosis was good. Thirty six hours later he was gone.
In the end, you wish that you had more time to tell the people in your life you love them, tell them how much you appreciate all they have done for you and how happy you are that they are a part of your life.
And you wish you had another chance to tell them happy birthday.