Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad!

As some of you know, my dad died on September 1, 2016. Today, April 18, would have been his 85th birthday. So, as a celebration of his life, I'm posting photos, a poem I wrote for him and the eulogy I wrote. I know there's another poem somewhere but I couldn't find it.
He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. We all loved him so much, and of course, still wish he was here. But, like I said in the eulogy, via Harry Potter, our loved ones never truly leave us. And I know we'll be with him again.
Another interesting fact, my sister was born on his birthday, how amazing is that?! A happy birthday to my sister Jan! She's in the batman photo :-) And please ignore all the formatting - apparently I need blog lessons!

Mountie pose

Mountie at desk
Dad and me


(Poem time)

It is Dad

It was Dad
Who decorated the outside of our house at Christmas as if it was a competition
and he won. 
Who staged the rooftop Santa and reindeer and the three foot high glowing candles.
It was Dad
Who lit the campfire and, when my marshmallows dripped, drooped and dropped into the flames, said it was okay.
Who ate the burnt ones that survived.

It was Dad
Who held on while I learned to ride my bike, the one with the banana seat.
Who snow skied with me between his legs until mine were sure enough.
Who, while I attempted to water-ski, gave encouragement no matter how many times I got dunked.
It was Dad
Who pulled me into the boat and wrapped me in a towel so I wouldn’t shiver.
Who gave me gave me his terry cloth beach jacket that smelled just like him.
Who smiled at me while driving the boat and I felt warm, dry and safe. 

It was Dad
Who delivered the Barbie condo and surprised me with stuffed animals from his trips.
Who bought my sister and I our own crazy roller-skates.
Who gave me a skateboard no matter how much or how little I played with it.

It was Dad
Who helped me understand what a credit card was for and that you had to pay on it - each month.
Who sometimes helped out with those payments.

It was Dad
Who supplied me with my gently or not so gently used cars and performed oil changes.
Who showed me how to fix a radiator and check fluids, especially because the cars would overheat.

It was Dad
Who attended my college graduation sitting for hours in the hot weather.
Who showed up to watch my bizarre plays.
Who happily drove to my wedding ceremony during El Nina.

It is Dad
Who laughs ‘til he cries as we reminisce about all the wacky times we’ve been though.
Who cherishes all those moments then.
Who treasures the times we have together now.
It is Dad

Bat Dad and Bat Jan

Dad & Desi - you're sitting in my spot


Eye, eye, captain
Dad and me
Whipped cream - need I say more

Dad and siblings


Dad was the king of many things, not all things, but plenty.

Like, the King of Mischief: Once when Dad and his brother were kids, they took all their chickens and placed their heads under their wings which immobilized them. When their grandmother saw them the next morning, she thought she had dead chickens all over the yard. Of course they had to go and put chickens right.

And the King of Dancing: He loved dancing and taught us how to polka, spinning us around so fast - it was so much fun. Just last year at my nephew's high school graduation, Dad and my sister Jo-Anne were on the dance floor grooving to Uptown Funk. I definitely had to join them for the next song.

Teaching: He taught me how to play piano by ear, how to fish, how to water ski and cross-country, we painted fences, built sheds - although I was the only one reading directions. He loved training RCMP recruits and Air Cadets. He had a gift and he enjoyed sharing it, usually with many humorous anecdotes.

Humor: Dad would visit my husband and me during American Thanksgiving and we'd watch the movie Christmas Vacation every year. He would have tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. It was a tossup as to what was more fun to watch, Dad or the movie. I can see his face and hear his laughter and it still makes me smile. He even saw all the Harry Potter movies - how many grandpas have done that?

Personal injury: From singing his eyebrows while bbqing to slicing his finger because he sharpened his knives so often, Dad was no stranger to an ER room.

The outdoors: If he wasn't towing a boat, he was towing an airstream. I called him the Energizer Bunny, because nothing ever stopped him, not injury or bad weather or awnings flying off the trailer, he just kept going. Well, he did stop and pick up the awning, but really, it was hard to keep up with him!

He was definitely the King of Grilling: He loved cooking on any appliance, gadget, smoker, bbq. Sometimes there were injuries, but really good food!

Entertaining:  Dad loved throwing a dinner party, having guests, hosting just about anything. People who met him or knew him really liked him. He always had a story. Even if something didn't start out funny, he found a way to laugh at it and spin a good yarn. I always asked him to tell the one about the body in the back of the stolen truck.

 The King of Loving life: You could see it in everything he did and how he shared it with the people he loved. It was evident in traveling with him, doing yard work, housework, just about anything, he did it with enthusiasm.

Loving family: Dad treasured time spent with family and good friends. No matter how far away or for how long. Even just talking every Sunday on the phone. I hold that dear.

So you can see how much of an impact he had while here, being King of mischief, dancing, humor, King of the grill, loving his life and his family. There is a giant hole on earth because he is no longer with us in person. 

There's a quote from the Harry Potter films that we enjoyed: “The ones that love us, never truly leave us, you can always find them in here”. (hand on heart)