Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today my dad catches up with my mother in years - 81 to be exact. This picture, on of my favorites, was taken last year when my parents came to visit us on Roatan.

My parents have both been blessed with pretty good health - although Daddy did give us a scare 5 years ago when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thankfully, it was stage one, encapsulated mass. It was removed and has not returned. Praise God!!

He's had to give up some things he once enjoyed due to arthritis in his neck and shoulders. He was once an avid fisherman, going to Canada with a group of friends, or out onto Missouri lakes with fishing buddy Charlie. He taught both of his daughters to fish, but only one of us kept with it. [I personally find fishing boring; my sister could fish all day long.] He taught his grandson to fish, too, something Dave still enjoys occasionally. He also liked to hunt - mostly for birds, like quail, or coons, rabbits or squirrels. He would often take one or more of his young nephews out in the woods or fields of my grandparents farm to do a little hunting. They loved it, and they are all crazy about their uncle! (So are his nieces.)

The last 20 years of his working days, he co-owned a custom cabinet shop and did beautiful work. He made chest of drawers and desks for his grandchildren, and that furniture will likely last 100 years or more.

Daddy is a great story-teller, loves really corny jokes, and keeps the family entertained. As the family genealogists, grandson Dave and I have been writing down many of the family stories. He often comes up with hilarious quotes that have us running for paper and pen to write them down. Don loves listening to my dad's stories and decided last year that we really needed to record him telling these stories - you never know when one is coming. So at Christmas time at our house, Don carried the little recorder around, just in case, prepared to turn it on at the first sound of a story-telling session.

My parents still drive to Missouri from Alabama once or twice a year, although they are threatening to give that long drive up. Last year they got their very first passports and traveled out of the country to Roatan to celebrate their 60th anniversary. Once here, they trekked all over the island seeing the sights by land and sea. He had a very good time and is willing to come back.

He doesn't fish much these day, doesn't hunt anymore, and doesn't do any serious carpentry, but he still cuts grass on his riding mower - his plus the yards of several widows and neighbors. He still puts in a big garden every year and tends to his fruit trees, and is always ready for a card game - which is how he is spending his birthday today, playing cards all afternoon with my mother and a group of friends.

Here's hoping you had a fantastic birthday and that the guys beat the gals at cards today. We love you!!

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