Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. Here is a picture of him hugging his youngest granddaughter, Molly, last night just after her return from Europe. He went to Europe when he was young, too. Uncle Sam bought him a ticket--although not on Lufthansa--a ship as I remember from the bedtime stories. He traveled everywhere he could get to from his base in Germany and raised my brother and me on stories of castles and rivers, fields of tulips and windmills along with many other stories of his life and adventures or the lives and adventures of which he had read. Besides being a genuinely good man, my Dad is a master storyteller. When our family is together--food and words are all that any of us want.

As I write this, I don't know how I can talk about my dad in a short blog post but it does give me an idea for trying my hand at a longer writing project.

He is 76 today--he was born in the Depression and lived in southern Louisiana, where his father was an oil executive, but with family roots and familial longing farther north in the black dirt of western Kentucky.

In his rebellious teens, he was sent to a boarding school in southern Mississippi where he met a pretty, talented scholarship student who is still the love of his life 54 years later.

As a young engineer in the late 1950's, he tried to convince his boss of the need for computers--rebuffed by management, he studied them on his own and was a pioneer in the field.

In the 1960's when we lived in an upscale neighborhood in a snooty town in Massachusetts he put his engineer's curiosity into practice and bought a pipe organ from an Episcopal church that was "upgrading" to an electronic organ and installed the 15,000 pipe pipe organ in our basement.

In the 1980's he and my mom were able to return to their beloved South and bought a home and built extensive gardens. In 1999, when I headed to a new life in a remote corner of the country, they sold their home and followed me to Maine--I couldn't have made it without them. Within a month they had more friends than people who have lived here their entire lives.

Today, he and my mom are going to drive to Boston to pick up my cousin's son who is flying in from Texas to spend some time in the woods of Maine with the best man in the world.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.


The Texican said...

What a wonderful post about a man I know and respect. You are truly blessed. Please give him birthday greetings from all the family down here. Pappy

Mary said...

He's a remarkable man with a wonderful family. Nice story, Beth. I wish him the happiest day!

Ruth said...

Happy Birthday to your dad! He is the same age as my dad and mom and they continue to live an active life too. Hope you write that book...

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Uncle Tommy. A very nice tribute to your dad. He is responsible for me being a member of the Gideon International Ministry. I am grateful and wish we still had more people like your mom and dad. We sure need their insight and wisdom.

KGMom said...

Beth--what a sweet tribute.
And, of course, I have to say--WHA??? you had a PIPE organ in your basement? Or your dad did?
Story tellers are the best, aren't they?
And, I think you got a bit of that gene yourself.
Happy Birthday, Beth's dad!

Jayne said...

What a sweet, sweet tribute Beth. Happy birthday to your daddy. (My daddy turned 76 in February and has been married to my mom for almost 52 years now.)

beckie said...

Beth, you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful man as your father. But equally so is he blessed to have you as a daughter. Girls and their dads-a special relationship! Hope he has a great birthday and many more. And I do hope you write that longer story. I know it will be a great read.

BTW, Glad Molly is home. :)

LoveANewIdea said...

I love this story. It's so nice when we get to learn the stories of our older family members...they are so often very interesting and unexpected.

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, reading this brings tears to my eyes. I am so glad you have such a wonderful Dad. Molly look like a younger version of you. I didn't know you lived in a snooty town in MA. Have you read "Still Life With chickens?" Its the memoir of a woman who lived in a snooty town in MA and after a divorce moved to a small town with her daughter. She bribed her daughter with the promise of pet chickens. She called the snooty town she lived in, "Hearts Are Cold." Perhaps you can relate.