Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Today, I'm celebrating.  I'm celebrating my outlook on life.  I'm celebrating friendships.  I'm celebrating laughter.  I'm celebrating family.  Today, I'm celebrating my Dad's birthday.  He would have been 96 today.  And although he passed away in 1975, I do celebrate his birthday every year.  Because I strongly believe my love of life, my love of family, my friendships and how dear they are to me, have all been influenced by my Dad.  The way he lived his life serves as a beacon to guide me in the way I live mine.  So today, I celebrate...

I celebrate Dad's love of family. 
He worked as a shipping supervisor for a pharmaceutical company.  You can imagine the pay wasn't that great.  But he managed to proudly support his family of 7 kids with that job.  No handouts from the government.  He was the sole breadwinner for many years.  As I've been digging thru old documents and pictures, I see how he managed it.  I find budget envelopes.  I find bank books with weekly deposits.  Simply amazing to me!!!
I celebrate his love of country. 
Dad proudly served in the Navy during World War II.  Even though he was married with a child on the way, he did what every proud American did back then.  He joined to protect our nation and our rights.

I celebrate his love of life. 

See that twinkle in his eye?  I was lucky enough to experience that most mornings after I graduated high school.  Dad and I were early risers.  So many mornings, we sat at the kitchen table chatting over our first cup of the day.  And I would love to look into his eyes as he talked.  They would twinkle, the same way you would think of a leprechaun's twinkle.  It actually set the tone for the day.  And I honestly can't think of a time it wasn't like that.  He just loved life. 

I celebrate his love of laughter,
whether it was he who laughed, or he who made others laugh. 

When we were lucky enough to have Dad join us for dinner (usually it was only Sundays and holidays), he would always come up with at least one very corny joke.  Of course, I usually laughed my butt off, because I saw the sillier side of Dad.  And, again, watching his face I could tell the punchline was going to be a silly one.  So I was ready for it.  And I think I enjoyed it all the more because of it.  He just loved to make people laugh.  I have no idea what he was trying to say in this picture, but I can tell you it was in the early to mid 40s and clearly he's clowning about being a sheik or something. But I have no doubt he entertained those he was with. 

I celebrate an all around good guy.  

When my Dad worked for Montgomery Wards as a Santa one year, all I could think about was how perfect he was for the job.  After all, we know Santa has a twinkle in his eye, right?  He really enjoyed this gig.  Once again, he just really enjoyed life.

So that gives you a little glimpse of my Dad, who would have been 96 today. 

One final note:  When my Dad passed away, his wake was not a somber event.  I looked around the room at the funeral home and listened to the chatter.  It actually had a party atmosphere to it.  And I remember thinking, This is exactly how Dad would have wanted it.  Celebrating his life, not mourning his death.  The procession of cars from the church to the cemetery was at least 2 miles long.  It really spoke to just how many lives this wonderful man had an effect on.  And I was lucky enough to call him Dad.   


Anonymous said...

Thank you Peggy - I find it amazing that the memories you have of Dad are so like mine and yet so different. I truly missed knowing the man as you knew him and I believe that was only because of my age. Thank you for giving me insights to the man I also called Dad. Just one more note: Although his birthdate was March 5th he would always take March 17th off of work to celebrate because he was also very pround to be Irish.

Love you
Li'l Sis

Peggy said...

So true!! 'Twas a Seamus at heart!

Leanne said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Dad, PK. So sweet. Today I'll keep him, you and a great outlook in my thoughts as I go through the day. Oh, and that twinkle in YOUR eyes . . . now I see where you got it from! ; )

Thanks for sharing part of your Dad with us. He would be so proud of the wonderful woman you are, Peg. SO proud.

Laura said...

PK - This post just brought a tear to my eye - but happy tears because of the warm, sweet memories of your dad. Thanks for sharing!

Bill said...

It's wonderful that you have the memories that you do. Seems like maybe you are a chip off the old block. (I mean that in the best possible way) How much of his great grandfather have you shared with your grandson? Gotta keep the spirit alive!!

Peggy said...

Bill, you make a good point. I believe I will print out this post and share it with my grandson this weekend. Thanks for the idea!!

Leslie Miller said...

I would have loved your Dad, too. You're so fortunate to be your father's daughter. I believe I do see where you got your spirit and positive outlook. Thank you so much for sharing this heartwarming post, Peggy.

scrapwordsmom said...

This is just so sweet. Love all the photos. I lost my Dad nearly 14 years ago. Awwww, I miss him so very much!!

Love your Blog look btw-LOL!!!