I think Saint-Exupery must have known my father, though Dad has never been to France. Of course, my family is especially fond of the French and we have some "adopted" family members who call that beautiful country home. (Thanks for the call Michel! You must visit us to celebrate our ten year anniversary!).
My beautiful cousin, Shane, wrote a lovely post in honor of my Dad's birthday. I can think of very little to add and I was touched by her eloquence. She most definitely captured this man I've been blessed to call my Dad for almost 47 years. He truly is as sharp as she described. Even more precious, his heart is that beautiful.
When I signed the card that Justin and Stephanie were kind enough to select, I didn't have to search my mind for what to write. I wrote to him that any redeeming qualities that may be apparent in Katie, Justin and me, were due largely to the fine example he has set, in his values, his ethics, his kindness and compassion. We were exposed to a "double dose" because those same traits are quietly on display in the form of my Mom as well.
I was at work until after 7:00 tonight, so after classes today, Justin and Stephanie set out to choose a new pipe, a jar of salt-roasted peanuts and a box of chocolates, in addition to some flints for the pipe lighter Justin bought his Pops for Christmas. But it was more than obvious what my Dad treasured most; He carefully read the card that Justin gave him, and then he read it a few more times. Justin wrote from his heart and it touched my Dad's heart. Those kind of connections are of the sort one cherishes and they're way more priceless than anything that could be found in the finest NY boutique.
"Justin, this is going in my diary. This is the best thing you could give me.", my Dad replied after reading his grandson's birthday card. And I know he meant it. He has 47 years of diaries stuffed with cards, notes, drawings and letters from me, my sister and Katie and Justin. No question he'll enjoy his pipe, as he will the peanuts and chocolates, but it is the cards, handwritten offerings that mean the most to my Daddy.
My mother cooked a wonderful meal; fried chicken, green beans, fried potatoes and two coconut cream pies and it was beyond delicious! The only thing missing from our table was Katie, but she had called her grandpa from NYC, on her way home from work. Not to be outdone in a family of bloggers, Katie put her two cents in and composed her own "Ode to Pops", on her Vox Blog. Can you tell we like to write?
So Happy Birthday, Daddy! How grateful we are to have you and Justin is right - should we all live to be 1/10th the person you are - we'll be doing pretty well. There can be no question by the number of calls and cards - you are loved. And we are blessed.