Today is my father’s 72nd birthday. As I write that number I feel so grateful that I still have my father in my life as well as the most wonderful, meaningful relationship with him. He defies the age – with an energy level that would rival a 30 year old and a zeal and zest for life that is unmatched by anyone I have ever met. He is a living example of a person who lives every moment of life fully and mindfully. He is enthusiastic about the world and events around him. He can spot a red tailed hawk or roadside deer from the driver’s seat. He derives joy from growing and nurturing the plant life in his garden whether it be his climbing beans, roses or tropical fruit. He loves to cook and preserve the food he grows. He loves to share the experience as much as he does having it. He is like no other.
He is a large man – tall and strong. At 72 his blue eyes are clear and he still has more blonde hair than gray. He is what some would call an overachiever. He has done most everything – and excelled at most. He has been an athlete, a university graduate, an educator, a school principal, a politician, an outdoorsman, a naturalist, a coroner, a justice of the peace, a boat captain, a business owner, a hunter, and a mayor. He is a middle child, father to four, grandfather to eight, and has been a husband to two - and is the core of our family. He has helped change the world we live in – in ways too many to recount. He gives more than he takes. He is a dreamer and visionary and with the exception of not competing in the Olympics, he would probably say he has fulfilled his dreams. One might say that he talks alot - he is a master communicator and storyteller. Recently he started writing and preserving those stories and memories. Maybe he'll add author to the list!
Most importantly to me, he has continuously evolved as a human being. He has allowed himself to be changed by his experiences and continues to surprise me with his willingness to consider and embrace new ideas. He has shown that we are all works in progress and if we so choose – we too can continue to grow. The possibilities are endless. Through his example I have learned many things - including the importance of reaching out to others and maintaining connections. He diligently works his way through his phone book regularly, checking in with friends and family members - and not with those five minute calls either. His calls are the equivalent of an hour-long visit often touching on philosophy, politics or the events of the day. He is a great friend to have and I am proud to say he has become one of my best (friends).
So on this day – my father’s birthday – I would like to tell the world that my dad is not only an inspiration – he is tops! Happy Birthday Pops!