Today my Dad turns 50.
This is a photo of my dad and me on the day that I was born.
Ever since then, I think I've been his biggest fan. I've always loved listening to him play the guitar and sing, and telling jokes with him. Of all the people I know, I think my dad's sense of humor is my favorite, and maybe the most like mine. Growing up I always spent a lot of time at my dad's house and really enjoyed hanging out with him. For the last five years he's lived in Vermont, which is really far away. Sometimes I miss him so much it makes me cry.
One of the things I like about my dad is that he's unpredictable, and does things you wouldn't expect, just for fun.
I think this photo is from my fifteenth or sixteenth birthday party. We used to have these wild dress-up parties at my mom's house. That year, as you can probably see, my dad came dressed as a Harri Krishna. He didn't just sort of dress up, he even had the little patch of hair left in the back. At the time I couldn't believe he did it (although as you can tell from the photo I thought it was pretty funny), but now I love this photo, and the memory. The serious look on his face is for the character. I think if you look closely you can see he's trying not to crack a smile.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was getting ready for my wedding ceremony, my dad showed up wearing a cowboy hat with his wedding clothes. "Dad! You can't wear that!" I said, exasperated. I'm sure he wore it for just that response, right dad? He had brought with him a little bundle of sage, and he smudged me (lit the sage and wafted the smoke around me) with it before we went inside. I'd been feeling a little bit like the wedding wasn't being true to my roots, and that it would be missing a few important things like that. That really helped and meant a lot. Thank you Dad.
I wish I was in Vermont to plan a big surprise party this year. We used to have surprise parties every year. I think after a while when it got close to this time of year, my dad would start to say things like, "So when's the surprise party?" I think maybe he caught on.
One year, determined to surprise him, and knowing if we took him out anywhere he'd guess right away, we invited all his friends over for a Mexican food (his all-time favorite) potluck at his house. What you have to know first, is that people used to stop by my dad's house to hang out ALL THE TIME. I guess he was pretty popular. Anyway, when his friend Kirk showed up that night, carrying some enchiladas or something, my dad, unknowing (and not noticing the dish) said, "Hey, did you know it's my birthday?"
"Uh, yeah. I think I heard that." Said Kirk.
I don't think he realized that this was the surprise party until about five people had shown up with food and/or beer for the party. That was a good one.
This year I'm not there to plan a party. Maybe next year. But at least I wanted to say:
Happy Birthday Dad!
I love you!!