Today is my father's birthday and he is 57 years young. Papa is the youngest of two children. He was the first man and male role model for myself and my two sisters. I think all young girls are marked with a special imprint of their father. Our Dad is the measuring stick that we, as young woman, used to define our relationships as we grew up. To say that my dad is brilliant, is really an understatement. Although he was never sent into war, he was in the service, where by chance, he met my Mom. As a child, I remember my Dad working midnights at the water plant and going to college during the day and sometimes evenings. He worked so hard to earn his college degree to better not only himself, but to be a better provider for our family.
I have so many wonderful memories of my Papa from when I was a child. I remember when I was, I think the age of seven, there was a beautiful dress at a fancy department store that I drooled over. It was a one piece drop waist dress, with a blue and green plaid pleated skirt. The top of the dress was white with puffy short sleeves and ruffles and buttons down the front. Oh how I desired to have this dress. One day, he took me to the store...and bought me that dress. I STILL LOVE THAT DRESS...and if memory serves me correctly, I believe I still have the dress stored away. It is possible that this was a reward of some form for good behavior or good grades, I'm not sure. However, I do remember that moment of awesomeness vividly.
As a child and teenager, I always thought we were abundantly rich. We never seemed to want for anything. Like a lot of families of the time, we had our share of hard times too. As an adult, I learned that there were times that my parents had to decide which bills would get paid and which bills would go delinquent so that we could buy groceries that week. My mom tells me the story of when I was born and they had no health insurance. The hospital told my Dad that he would need to get a loan from the bank in order for me and my mom to be discharged from the hospital. The high pressure tactics of the 70's didn't work on my Dad. He kindly told them that he would not get a loan and he would be happy to visit his wife and daughter as often as he could, until he could pay the bill in full and bring us home. That one truly makes me smile. I can imagine the hard, serious look on my Dad's face and the stunned look on the face of employee. I'm sure the hospital had never heard that one before...and as you might guess, they worked out a payment plan and discharged us both.
I remember he would ask me if I wanted to run an errand with him in the afternoons after school or on the weekend. On the way home, he would treat me to a hamburger or an ice cream cone. I remember the "I love you" from my Dad on the day of my wedding. There are so many wonderful times I've shared with my Dad. Before the Brownies were born, we tried to have breakfast at least one Saturday a month. We would end up spending the majority of our day together sharing our day to day lives.
I'm reminded of the old country song Daddy's Hands by Holly Dunn...
Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.
I look at my Dad's hands as they have aged over the years. They are a little rougher than I remember as a child, but they always have love and kindness as they wrap around me. If you can't tell from my post, I love my Dad. I am ever thankful for every day I have with him. Some people are not as fortunate as my family to have a father and friend like my Dad. He has a heart of gold and a mind of intelligence. I'm proud of the man my Dad is to my mom, my sisters and especially...to me. Happy Birthday to my Papa!