Happy Birthday Dad!
I’m thankful you are my dad.
I’m thankful for the ways that you value family. We took summer vacations in our blue station wagon to Florida to visit the great aunts and uncles. We picked up Grandma every week for church. We did clam bakes with Nana and always enjoyed time with the cousins. I now live vicariously through Sara whose family enjoys lunch with you every week. Thanks for teaching us to treasure family too.
I’m thankful for your love of music. Several rooms often had the radio playing, big band in the basement and classical in the kitchen. Your excitement for musical arrangements was contagious. Standing next to you and mom in church was often practical music theory, listening to the harmony. Grandma would often elbow me when the choir sang, “There’s your dad. I hear him.” Of course, you were the only bass, but you sang strong and in tune. Music can both sentimentalize and strengthen me (except for Bob Curnow arrangements. Right, dad?!) so I am thankful for the joy that you have found in it and passed on to us.
I’m thankful for the creative things you pursued. Doing wedding photography on Saturdays and teaching history during the week showed your great stamina! You have an eye for capturing photos of both people and zoo animals. I remember after one trip to the zoo (you are a zoo connoisseur) you encouraged me to try to design the layout–how large would I make an exhibit, how would I group the animals together, what types of animals would I have? I remember being so excited, so challenged, so motivated. A true teacher can inspire like that! You often analyzed films and had me sit and you would point out the cinematography, the plot. Unfortunately I asked too many questions and was a little annoying! You exhorted, “Just watch. Just watch.” As my Elizabeth took a Film and Worldview class this year, I heard the same excitement in your voice and I was thrilled that you bought and read the same text that she was reading. She’s a part of your gene pool as she analyzes and observes with as much fervency as you do.
I am thankful for good memories. When Pastor Z. met with you on our back patio to do a Bible study when I was about eight, I overheard you and got my own Children’s Bible down to read. If you were going to learn, I wanted to learn. I remember God’s protection when we drove home from the circus at the Cleveland Coliseum while huge snowflakes pummeled our green 70’s car. The radio was playing some sort of ghost story radio theatre with all of the haunted house creaks and noises. My eyes, not able to blink because of their saucer size, were blinded by the white on the windshield while imagining creatures lurking in the backseat. It’s my first recollection of fear–and I survived! Today I still see God’s hand caring for me in all of my imagined and real fears. He leads and provides just as He did that night.
I am thankful that you are thankful. There is not a time that I get off the phone with you in which you haven’t expressed your thankfulness to the Lord that I married who I did, that Sara married who she did, how much you love your son-in-laws, how thankful you are that we live where we live and are doing what we are doing, how it’s God’s grace that led you to this point, that you really have no complaints. Sometimes I wonder if you feel like it will be our last conversation and you need to make sure I know these things. Other times I realize that it’s just your refrain. It’s a good refrain. It’s the refrain of a life well lived.
I love you Dad. Happy Birthday!