birthday

Of shooting stars…

Photo courtesy of NASA

I sat on my front stoop alone last night straining to see any of the shooting stars in the sky. I don’t know if it was positioning on my part or the thin layer of cloud cover, but search as I might, none of the beautiful sky show graced my view.

I was not disappointed in my time spent on the porch though. The humidity dropped and a light summer breeze made my skin feel cool and gave music to the neighbors wind chimes. The crickets gave a gentle buzz instead of their normal shouted cacophony.  A bat or two fluttered by scooping up insects drawn by the street lamp on the corner. It was the perfect setting to as Pooh is want to say, “Think, think, think”.

Thoughts of how slowly and yet quickly the summer passed intertwined with visions of what is to come, as I listened to the starlings call out to each other. The night echoed with the summer’s first faint cries of “I’m bored” and the last plaintive whimpers of “I’m not ready for school to start” and all the voices in between those two moments.

We didn’t do anything big or go off on a extended trip like last year (see August 2011 entries). No we stayed close to home and created small, forever memories.

There was the disappointment at not being able to spend time with my daughter Nené on her 25th birthday (ye gads, 25th!). But there was comfort in knowing that we were able to speak to each other.

I loved the quiet, uninterrupted two hour conversation Bashert and I had on our anniversary (15 years, thank you). That was a gift from my Mom and sister Calico Nell who took Yoda with them on the ride down to Savannah for a visit.

I smiled at the memory of Yoda proudly piloting us out of the marina during that visit with my Aunt Spinning Jenny and Uncle Cliff Clavin. Cliff, who is not always that great with grown-ups, excels in bringing out confidence in kids. He had Yoda doing boat doughnuts in Turner Creek by the time our venture out ended.

I again marveled at Bashert’s bravery in conquering her own fears of thunderstorms in order to show Yoda that all was okay sitting on the screened porch while nature lashed all about. She held her own and we laughed and laughed, while Yoda challenged Cliff to yet another game of chess and I shared some Herman’s Hermits music memories with my sister.

Warm fuzzies surrounded me when I thought of the surprise birthday cake my Mom presented to Yoda and me that same weekend.  I love my Mom.

I relived Yoda’s birthday party of just a few days ago when stiff haired, tattooed rock stars invaded our home. Bashert slammed home another theme party with a karaoke madness/pool fête. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen five eight/nine year old boys getting down to LMAOF on plastic, blow-up guitars and keyboards. We now have enough video to grant several opportunities for teenage blackmail.

As I shifted to relieve the pressure on my bum, some sore muscles reminded me of the fulfilled birthday promise I made to Yoda. We spent the day at one of our local arcades – just the two of us. We sort of fudged his age so that he could drive the go-cart by himself. (I’d forgotten what a thrill it is to pretend to be older than you are.) The smile on his face as he zoomed past me was priceless.

That same smile lit up when he introduced me to laser tag. If you ever want a work out try half an hour of sneaking around in blacklight darkness trying to zap fast moving little kids. You automatically go into a half squat and scurry from hiding place to hiding place. Your thighs will thank you. Yoda won two out of the four games, racking up six digit points on the last round, which I found out later resulted mainly from him shooting me! I wondered where that sniper was.

As much as I had dreaded the noise and prospect of dealing with the foibles of other people’s children, I am glad we spent that day. It’s part of this summer I will never forget.

Thoughts of the coming day began to filter in after a bit. Yoda starting his first day of third grade, me returning to work, all the mundane things that need to be taken care of. I pulled my eyes from the night sky, gave a sigh and turned to go inside. Summer vacation was over.

I was saddened not to have seen a shooting star, but I believe I still gathered a pocket full of starlight. Each of this summer’s memories will act as a luminary for any dark days of struggle yet to come and will serve as beacons for the next round of times spent together. Like the song says:

“For when your troubles start multiplyin’
And they just might
It’s easy to forget them without tryin’
With just a pocketful of starlight.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day.”

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Premiere Reminder Day

Sunday was Bashert’s birthday.  Birthdays are a big thing for her, since many of the other popular holidays throughout the year were not celebrated by her family.  Birthdays were fun, but not earth shattering events for my family.  As I’ve noted before, I can be kind of dense about some things, so its taken me a few years to realize the importance of the day.

I have a hard time being super creative in a celebratory way.  Most of that talent lies with Bashert.  She once had me invite all the people and then decorate my parent’s home for my own surprise birthday party.

I’ve only been able to surprise her a couple of times during our 15 years.

When she turned 40, I gave her a gift a day forty days out from her birthday.  Each gift was accompanied by a short poem to hint at what the gift was to be.  I gave her all manner of stuffs – from a secret message painted on the ceiling (glow in the dark paint) to lip balm to a surprise visit from her sister (who came bearing chocolate cake!).  That was challenging, but fun.

This year, she received her most of her birthday a little early. The first part was a little bit selfish on my part.  She was so totally frustrated with her iPad I dropping her from the internet and I was so totally frustrated hearing the sighs, that I packed up Yoda and part of our tax return and went straight to the Apple store.  We came home with a laptop.  Surprise! No more sighs from either of us.

I had not planned anything specific for her actual birthday.  We were to be out of town Friday and Saturday for Passover at her sister’s place.  And then it happened.  I was in the back room working on my term paper (which I should be doing now) Friday night and I could hear them discussing dogs.

I had internet connection and ding! went my email.  Seems Bashert’s sister, Miriam had found a couple of dachshund puppies offered on Craigslist in our area. I snuck a look and said for those faces, I could try again.  The next day started an email exchange that ended up with a meeting to take place on Sunday.

Once we saw the little thing, there was no doubt he would be coming home with us.  If the other people who had driven all the way from North Carolina had decided against his sister, I believe we would have taken her too.

So, enter Moses, a nine week old, long haired, mini dachshund.  He is a beautiful black and tan and full of personality.  He won’t be much over 10 lbs once fully grown and he has stolen our hearts.  Well, most of our hearts.  The cats aren’t too happy with the new addition, yet.

The older ones haven’t gotten over adding in Ruthie the 3-legged kitten and Ruthie is a little put out about not being the baby anymore.  The pain of the lost dogs still haunts us, but as with all blended families, it just takes time.

We’ll get there.

 

Happy Birthday, Bashert!

A Full C Note

Today is my grandmother’s 100th birthday.

October 18, 1911.

My older brother Stravos, the first grandchild, called her Mama, following our mother’s lead.  It was never changed so our grandmother was Mama from then on out.

All of us have our own memories and images.  Those who lived with her directly have different images than those of us who just visited.  The children have different images than the grandchildren.  All of that is the way it should be.  We are all correct and wrong, just as our children and grandchildren will be about us.

This is a true story that gave me a little insight into my grandmother.

 

The Place at the Table

 

Girls were raised up right back then; Ginia, the eldest by two years and her mother’s namesake, helped cook and clean, while Annie Caroline had to set the table.  Forks on the left, spoons and knives on the right, knives to the inside, blade in.  Plates two fingers from the edge.

Her mother made Annie set the place each night.  A plate in front of an empty chair.  Empty, negative space in the tableau of the family.   What did Annie think about as they calmly passed the butter beans around and over that empty plate?  What small talk took place to fill that void amongst the quiet clinking of silver to china?  “How was your day, Frank?  Anything interesting down at the train yard?”  “Nothing much, Harriet dear, how was your day?”  “Please pass the beans.”  Did she want to scream?

Not quite five years old and sitting next to a ghost.

My heart aches for the little girl, who had to set that plate.  My grandmother.  Mama.  The sister of the boy who carried her father’s name.  Two and a half years younger than Annie, two year old Francis died during an influenza outbreak in 1916, one day after his second birthday.

Her mother said she wished Annie had died instead.  My great-grandmother.  Mar.  The matriarch of the family I love.  Annie was four and a half years old.  I wonder at the despair that would drive a mother to wish her child dead.  Was the promise of a son so much better than that of a second girl?  Annie, the spare child; the real extra place at the table.
Her brother gone and her mother mad, was Annie allowed to cry or mourn?  Was the plate a punishment for being the stronger of the two?

Girls were raised up right in the time of my mother, too.  She was the cleaner and has no stories of setting the table.  My mother, the third to bear the name.  Mom.  Mama never told her of Mar’s words.  Possibly, it was too fresh, too touchable to set before Mom.  Or maybe the warm, crusty, but yielding Mama the grandchildren knew was too much a hard baked fortress to her children.  The distance to the plate was still too narrow, two fingers from the edge.

Mama took me in when my brother was born.  For six weeks, I was Mama’s.  I was Mama, too, displaced by a younger brother.  Another plate at our table.

Mama offered sustenance, succor and security to my parent’s second daughter, the one who bore her name.  Perhaps, the seeds were sown during that time for her revelation to come.

Fifty years had improved our family’s mortality.  My brother survived his rough arrival and my mother recovered.  I’m told that months after I was returned to my mother, I would still grab my things and get ready to leave with Mama after she came to visit.  I had staked my heart’s claim.

Mama told me of her mother’s words, while sitting on the front porch of her home.  It was set before me in a moment of time right for the revealing.  A moment between a second daughter to a second daughter.  She was seventy years old.  I was twenty.  I never knew Mama had another brother until that moment.  Her words rang flat as she told the story.  Sixty-five years later her mother’s words still served her memory.  How could she sit there so calmly snapping green beans and tell me her mother wished her dead over another?  Did Mama still feel the emptiness and hunger for her mother’s love?  In my youth and shock, I couldn’t find the right questions to ask for more.

Mama never mentioned the plate or Francis again.  It, and he were put back in the cupboard with the rest of the mysteries of her life.

I treasure the moment Mama gave me that afternoon on her porch.  A gift and memory written on my heart as indelibly as the recipe card for her famous macaroni and cheese.

Girls are raised up in this day and age, too.  My daughter.  The fifth to bear the name no longer lives in our house, but there is no negative space set at the table by my son, her younger brother.  There will always be a place, but no empty plate to pass over. Forks on the left, spoons and knives on the right, knives to the inside, blade in.  Plates two fingers from the edge.

 

Mama passed away in 1989, only 78 years old.  And while her absence leaves an empty space in our hearts, there is never an empty space at our tables. Her place is filled with the laughter and kind thoughts that time and memory create.

 

Happy Birthday, Mama.

 

 

 

Iratus Pennipotenti

Yoda declared “best day ever”.  Again.

We opted to return to a smaller, at home birthday party this year.

But the older Yoda gets the more space his friends occupy, the smaller our townhouse becomes, so we decided to make it a pool party.

The theme, chosen by Yoda – Angry Birds®.

For the most part, Bashert prefers to make decorations and whatnots rather than purchase stock merchandise. The past several days our house has been awash in fabric markers, paints, paper cutouts and multicoloured sprinkles.

I generally stay out of the way of such craftiness.  It works to our mutual benefit.

Bashert creates wonderful, imaginative decorations and I keep my sanity.

She did not disappoint.  Here’s just a quick sample.  Check out bashert04 (see blog roll) for more photos and how-she-did-its

   

Blue Bird Tee - hand painted

Each kid got a home-made t-shirt.  Bashert had ordered three shirts for us to wear, but in the process of washing and drying, both hers and Yoda’s shrunk to fit only a two year old and an anorexic posh.  How lucky was I that my pig shirt survived.

There’s a metaphor or something in that for sure.

We had a bit of a panic when the townhouse manager let us know that our pool was closed for the weekend due to some chlorination issues.  But he offered up the use of the one across the street at the adjacent apartments, so we breathed a bit easier.

Shlepping a cooler and pool toys across the street would be a breeze as opposed to entertaining seven boys in a two bedroom townhouse for 3 hours.

As parties go, it went without much fuss.  There were no injuries or permanent emotional scars. A near tussle over a ball in the pool – boys and their balls (sorry, couldn’t resist) – was the only iffy moment.

We returned to the house just before the rain hit to have cake (complete with Williamsburg candle), egg-shaped peanut butter sandwiches and snacks.  A good time seemed to be had by all.

But of course like all the best parties, the most fun was had at the after-party.

A couple of boys (The Boy & The Barber’s Son) stayed a while after the majority had left.  At that time there ensued a small scale war between the pigs and birds.  Iratus pennipotenti versus viridis sus. It was epic for its size.

When just The Boy and Yoda remained, the dancing began.  Yoda received a KidzBop© cd and wanted to try it out.  The Boy and Yoda gave quite a performance.

We had everything from a mock Charleston to The Boy doing the robot while dressed in Yoda’s Lego Halloween costume.  That we got on video.

Yoda kept saying he wished this day was a dream so that it would not end.  A great compliment to his Momma’s hard work, I’d say.

It’s just before 10pm our time and Yoda is finally asleep.  Bashert is not far behind, so its just me and Shit Dog reviewing the day.

Shit Dog & Viridis Sus resting after the Battle

And a good day it was.  “Best day ever.” Again.

World Premiere 2003

Yoda arrived in this world eight years ago today on his exact due date.  Its nice to be punctual when starting out.

Bashert and I had just reached a song we knew during a PBS special on Elton John.  There we were humming along with Sir Elton and BAM! Bashert exclaims, “I think my water just broke!”

In all my worldly wisdom, I replied, “Get off the couch.”

I can be so compassionate at times.

We got her up and moving toward the door calling to NeNé to come on down, it was time to go to the hospital.

As we got to the door, Bashert stopped, gripped the door frame and said she didn’t think she could do this. I said it was a little late for that now.  She grimaced and said that she meant walking to the car.

We managed to get to the car and sped off to the hospital, which was all of five minutes away.  I dropped the two of them off at the front door and went to park the car.  I think I broke my own speed record running back into the hospital (this was before the Plantar’s Fasciitis set in and I could still run).

The triage nurse wasn’t too on the ball.  She got confused between Bashert and some chickie who thought her water had broken.  Triage Nurse wasn’t too helpful in calming Bashert down either, she wanted to explain procedural methods. Not a good idea.

You see, Bashert wanted that epidural right away.  She introduced herself in the hospital as, “Hi, my name is Epidural Now.”  Triage Nurse didn’t read people very well.

We asked when the doctor would be there.

Turns out as is usually the case, our doctor was not on call that night.  We joked that we would get some dashingly handsome male doctor, whom all the nurses swoon over.

We got exactly that.  Bashert groaned, but he was right on top of things, basically ignoring Triage Nurse and calming Bashert at the same time.

After the initial prep, we were shown to the ‘birthing room’.  The room made up to look artificially cozy and comfortable where Yoda was to be born.  NeNé claimed the couch and began dozing. It was getting pretty late into the night by then.

The anesthesiologist couldn’t arrive fast enough.  Bashert kept asking every ten minutes as to where he was.  She got rather insistent that I question the staff, so I went out in the hall and pretended to speak with the nurse.  It calmed me and placated her.

When the anesthesiologist finally arrived we all rejoiced. Then he and I spent the entire time he was administering the manna from heaven trying to come up with from where we knew each other.  We never did figure it out.

Bashert floated into a wonderful la-la land.  NeNé fell asleep on the couch and I maintained a half sleep/half vigilance state next to the bed.

Around 6:45am we realized that it was time for the shift change.

Into the room walked a woman with long blonde hair and a fully made up face. Great, our child was being delivered by Ken and Barbie.

Surprisingly, Barbie turned out to be very capable and competent. She guided Bashert through the delivery with great understanding and confidence.

Yoda gave us a couple of little scares when he finally came out.  First, meconium accompanied him on his way out and the doctor was afraid that Yoda might have aspirated some during the delivery process and second the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around Yoda’s neck several times.

One would think that would have prevented him from aspirating anything, but they had to make sure.  So, when the doctor cut the cord, the nurses whisked him away to verify all was clear.

I knew all was good when the nurse joked that she couldn’t put a diaper on the kid because he kept pooping.  She’d get him cleaned up and there he’d go again.

When Yoda was placed in our arms for the first time, we didn’t see all the marks his travel to us had brought – scraped cheeks, bruised eyes and fat lip.  All we saw was a remarkable little boy, who vaguely resembled Curious George and sent our hearts to the clouds.  I don’t think we’ve come out of them since.

NeNé snapped a picture of us at that exact moment. Yoda’s World Premiere, 10 August 2003.

Happy Birthday, Potato!

You Say Its Your Birthday; Its My Birthday Too

Today was the magic day.

I hit 50.

Its a tired cliché to say it all went so quickly. Its rather like the vacation we are on now.  You plan and save and it all seems so far away and then voilà there you are.

I can honestly say nothing has gone according to any plan I ever had.  If it had, I would be single, living alone in a small neat house, surrounded by books and antiques.  There would be maybe a couple of cats for company.  And I would have lots of money.

As it turns out, I am happily ‘married’ to the most passionate side of my soul, have two spectacular children, three cats and one dog.  Our house is small, but decidedly not neat and the antiques are in short supply.  Money, well…I do have books.

There are many things I would have rather not gone through to get to this point in my life. Really – many things, but as the other really exhausted cliché goes, I wouldn’t be the person I am now except for those experiences. (Sometimes, I would like to have known that person – the one without the other stuff, but I don’t want to be visited by three creepy guys in the night on Christmas Eve just to see what might have been.)

But here I am, pudgy waisted, greying of hair and happier than any solitary life would have ever provided.  I have 50 years of life and wonderment to reflect on.

Bashert gave me a book of memories and letters from friends and family.  It is wonderful.  Its a treasure for me and those who read this and contributed will be getting thank you notes…eventually.

Bashert gave me a special memory today to put in a new edition. Get your mind out of the gutter, its not that type of memory (at least not yet – day’s not over).

We had been touring Colonial Williamsburg all morning.  We were tired and hot. Yoda had reached his limit and was getting a bit, shall we say vocally high pitched about something he could not have.  So we thought it best to come out of the midday heat and get some refreshments.

We stopped into Chownings Tavern for lunch.

Our waitress was quite delightful and quite the salesperson.  Before you knew it we were all quenching our thirst on some of the tavern’s homemade root beer and dining on the recommended house specialty sandwich (which I will not reveal because I am now going to rot for eternity because I broke the one kosher law I have kept since 1999, but man, was that sandwich worth it!).

We saved room for dessert, but before it arrived at the table, Yoda had to visit the ‘necessity’.  So up the stairs we went, with me explaining the entire way up that he was lucky it was in the house as the lavatories were outside back then, blah, blah, blah.

When we returned, a man appeared at the table side and proceeded to ask who it was who had the birthday.  Yes, they do this even in 18th century Williamsburg.

I was treated to a rousing rendition of “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” followed by a lovely tin whistle serenade of “Brian Boru’s March”.

They even brought out my piece of apple pie with a huge mulberry candle in the middle of it.  They let me keep the candle. Yoda asked if we can use it on his cake in a couple of weeks.  Cool.

The waitress then took our picture with our ‘shutterbox’, making sure to move all 21st century items out of the way first.  Except the visitor tags we were wearing and the San Diego Zoo baseball cap I was wearing and well..we have a great shot of the three of us to remember the occasion.

It’s a memory I will cherish. I’m smiling even as I write this.

Thank you, my love.

Here’s to the next 50 years. May the memories keep coming and may I remember at least half of them.

Huzzah!

Who Is She Today?

One might think that my daughter suffered from dissociative disorder, with all the personalities that spilled forth when she was a child.

One never knew at any given time who might pop out.

The woman who always checked us out at the grocery store was known to ask who she was that day.

Once it happened, there were generally clues, such as dress or demeanor as to who had appeared, but length of time the other personality made reside was always a guess.

In the morning she may have been Dorothy complete with gingham dress and ruby slippers, but by the afternoon she may have transformed into Laura Ingalls, with bonnet and pre-braces (the polite way of saying bucked toothed Melissa Gilbert).

Her personalities ran the gamut from Shira, Princess of Power to Atreyu, the Warrior of The Neverending Story.

Atreyu was actually pretty impressive. AURYN was an old peace sign on a leather string. Her costume was a one piece jumper that she could unbutton to show AURYN. She used an wide suede watchband of mine from the 70’s as Atreyu’s armband. Falkor, the luckdragon was a stuffed dog with floppy ears.

Once when I had to send her to her room she went in as a rather pissed off NeNé, but when I went to check on her a bit later, I found Sleeping Beauty asleep in her reading chair.

I think by far her best personality was Arielle, the mermaid.  My mom or sister, not sure which anymore, made her a mermaid outfit that she eventually wore slap out.  When she donned the magic costume, she also added her well worn Blankie as her long hair.

I would pin it under her chin and she would toss it back in the manner of Cher.  Arielle would then mount the rock jutting from the ocean and sing the most heartfelt rendition of “Part of Your World” one had ever heard.  I would wait with bated breath for the moment when she would rise up with the music crescendo.  I could see the waves crashing all around her.

She always put on a fabulous show.

NeNé began to integrate around age 6.  The other personalities made less and less appearances until I noticed they came no more.  Being someone different was now regulated to Halloween, theme days at school and costume parties.

I still have the little mermaid and Atreyu’s outfits.  I keep them stored with the last thin remnant of Blankie.  Every now and then I run across them when cleaning out closets.

All the organization gurus say that I should get rid of them, but I wouldn’t trade that closet space for anything.

As soon as I see those costumes, I am transported to the days of NeNé’s multiple personalities and the magic they created.  Sometimes I can even hear Falkor’s hearty laugh or the ocean crashing around me.  Magic indeed.  That was one psychiatric diagnosis I could live with.

Happy birthday, Munchkin.

Bastille Day a.k.a Dad’s Birthday

Daddio

Happy Bastille Day!  La Fête Nationale. The day the celebrating the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and setting in motion the French Revolution.  Around my house it was always known as Dad’s birthday.

There are 30 years difference between my Dad and I.  As I turn 50 this year he hits 80.

When we were over at the parents house last month Dad asked me to go through a box of items he thought may have belonged to me at some time.  What I found was the letter he wrote to each of his children on the eve of his 50th birthday. Talk about karma.

This is the section he wrote to me:

Some of the memories I have kept of you my little big-eyed rugged tom boy who was the youngest auto driver in the family.  In 1981 dollars the 50 ft drive would cost about $225,000 per mile ~ the strong silent one on the stage who would not say a word – okay- then there were the first day of school – we became well known as the only father going to in school in the first grade ~ then there was the little one who made sure she was available to ride anywhere, anytime, anyplace on the motorcycle even out running the cop – remember tapping me on the tummy and saying Dad I think he wants you to stop!  Things tripped along with a few bumps until an Afro hair style and Joe, the gear jamming and contact lens. College and a grown up job how time flies ~ your Dad loves ya very much.

My Dad is not necessarily a very demonstrative person.  He would rather do for you than talk about how he feels, so these letters to us were really amazing.

Dad was born in 1931 to a couple of people, who probably shouldn’t have had children.

His mother, Betty gave him and his younger sister up to an orphanage after she divorced from their father.  His father rescued the two from there only to separate them, putting my Dad on his Uncle Stetson’s dirt farm and sending his sister Gloria to be raised by aunts in the town.

Dad doesn’t talk much about those days.  He has a few good memories of his grandmother Rebecca (she has a strange resemblance to the Wicked Witch in the one picture we have, but he says she was really a nice woman) and of the animals he took on as pets.

He worked hard to get out of his lot in life.  He joined the Army and spent a couple of years in Alaska.  We have a great photo of him standing waist level in snow, but in short sleeves!

Just when he finished his tour, his beloved younger sister was killed in a car accident at the age of 19.  I don’t think he ever really recovered from that loss. They were each other’s touchstones while growing up.  He speaks of her with such love, I wish I could have met her.

He met Mom when they were both working in downtown Savannah.  They married in 1953 and have been together ever since.  They raised four kids together and they just celebrated 58 years of ups, downs and love.

He worked hard to support us all even when putting himself through school.  He was a great example of never stop learning or trying to improve on yourself.

Dad and I have not always seen eye to eye.  I think its because we are so much alike.  Both stubborn and quietly determined, we tended to butt heads as I grew up.  But as much as we would argue, I always kept two incidents in the back of my mind.  I was very young, under five, but the impressions are so important they are memories I will hold forever.

Both happened when we lived in Memphis, Tennessee.

The first thing I remember is the night of the day I ended up with a concussion.  The four kids had been playing out in the backyard – remember when we used to do that sort of thing? – we were running and jumping off the concrete slab patio and landing in the pile of leaves at the end.

To protect the not-so-innocent, I will decline to give the actual circumstances, but suffice it to say that I don’t think my older brother ended up happy that afternoon as I ended up with a concussion after hitting an object that suddenly appeared in my path as I sailed through the air expecting to land in the leaf pile.

I was upended and my head struck the pavement.  Instantaneous concussion.

The doctor said not to let me fall asleep that night.  My Dad stayed up with me all night, letting me into the inner sanctum of his home office sipping pear juice and I’m sure talking his ear off.

Forty-five years later and I can still feel the level of importance he elevated me to that night.

The second instance took place at a carnival or fair that was operated by the Shriner’s.  Somehow, I ended up alone with Dad and we decided to ride the Ferris wheel.

We climbed into the swaying bucket seat.  I have memories of excitement that can only be experienced by a child as the safety bar was locked into place.  I sat close to Dad and waited for the ride to begin.

As the bucket began to rise, so did my anxiety level.  Excitement turned quickly to panic as I realized how high up and exposed we were.  I began to scream for my Dad to make it stop.

Now, my Dad has not always been the most patient with small children and their immature ways and he will cheerfully own up to this.  But this time, this time he more than rose to the occasion.

He made the Ferris wheel stop.

My Dad made them stop the Ferris wheel.

Dad doesn’t get around as well as he used to these days.  Arms that could one lift two to three kids at a time are suffering from arthritis and his back is showing the results of degenerative bone loss. He prefers the company of his books and my Mom to visiting with others and we still butt heads occasionally.

When I call and ask how he’s doing, he always replies, “fair to middlin’”.

I’m sure each of my siblings have their own special memories of our father, but to me he will always be the man who made a little girl feel important and loved.  Loved enough to stop the world from spinning.

I love you, Dad.  Happy birthday – Sam