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Friday, July 29, 2011

To My Father

My Father
July 29th is my Dad's birthday. I want to take a minute to say a few words about someone so special to me.

My father taught me a lot things. He taught me that action speaks louder than words and how to scour other people’s trash for treasures, and how to play kickball—the latter when I came home from school in tears because I was picked last for the kickball team. That summer, he practiced with me every evening after work using hula hoops for bases and so that fall when I returned to school, I was picked not last, but second. But most importantly, he taught me that it didn’t matter what “side of the tracks” you were from, but what kind of person you were inside.

From my Dad, I inherited my freckles, a passion for politics, a love of antiques and a tendency to worry too much about everything. And, I hope, I inherited his compassion and kindness.

He's the kind of guy who sings to the family cat. Who dances in the kitchen in his underwear. Who will trap a pesky rodent and take it to the park to let it go instead of killing it. Who once helped me rescue and raise three baby rabbits after their mother was killed by an irate gardener. Who says "How Do?" instead of "Hello".

My father always served his fellowman, first in the Korean War, and again as a leader in his local union.

The winter of my divorce, he showed up on my doorstep with a fresh cut Christmas tree and, against all my protests, erected it in my living room.

When Bob and I married, he accepted Bob as if he was his own son. And during our first year of marriage, when Bob had some family trouble and began drinking too much, it was my father who told me that if I truly loved him, I wouldn't leave, but help him through it and things would get better. And he was right.

My father always wanted a son, but had two daughters instead. My mother gave me my father’s name as my middle name, so I am, in a way, his proud namesake.

My father is my biggest fan. The year I ran for political office, yard signs sprouted in his manicured lawn and he attended every event, standing in the back, shaking hands and telling everyone “that’s my daughter.” When my first book was published, he visited every local bookstore to make sure they had a copy and to make sure it was displayed up front. And he reads my blog daily. When I first started blogging, my Dad called me up and told me that my blog had “80 hits!” but not to get too excited because about 60 of those were from him.

And my father (and mom, too) has been there for me and Bob. I don't know what I would have done without their constant support both emotionally and financially since Bob's stroke. I honestly don't know how I would have made it this far. 

So, Dad, I know you’re reading this! Have a Happy Birthday. I love you so much. I hope I haven't embarrassed you.

And folks, if you are reading this in the next few days, please wish him a happy birthday in the comment section. His name is Les. (My middle name is Leslie.) And I would love to make his day.


Nikki said...

I love it! Yup, Grandpa's awesome! He's been the only constant father-figure in my life since Dad stopped seeing Dave and I when I was like 16. He did all the things a dad is supposed to do- he bought my books when I was in college, paid for my wedding lunch at Ciatti's...this post made me think of how grateful I am to have him in my life too!

Jenn said...

Happy birthday Les! : )

Mike said...

Happy Birthday from the UK

Helen M (LaCrosse) said...

I don't know your dad very well, having met him at the hospital and perhaps a couple other times, but it seems he is a very strong and supportive man. I can see where you get it from, Dianne. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Les. Those offspring of yours can keep you busy.

Dad said...

Thanks for the nice birthday surprise;Ihad tears in my eyes when Iread it.Take care of yourself.Mom and I will help you as long as we are able,wished others would try,we know how hard you have it 24 hr. 7days a week, with no way to pay the bills for Bobs are doing all you can,can,with no time for yourself. Hope and pray things get better soon.

love mom and dad

Linda said...

Happy Birthday wishes from Canada Les!

I think you have one very proud daughter. You raised her well! It sounds to me like she has indeed inherited your compassion and kindness.

I wish you much joy now and in the future!

barbpolan said...

Happy birthday, Les,

You raised a very special daughter.