Happy Birthday, Dad

***I’m posting this tonight instead of after midnight because I will be participating in the blackout to protest SOPA and PIPA, if I can figure out how to work the plug-in.  : /

I was a little disappointed to find out, after my father died, that he liked Elton John.  You see, I have been a huge fan from the time I was a young teenager and was sorry that I hadn’t known.  It would have been a cool thing to have in common with my dad.  I like to think that he liked him because Elton could be heard blaring from my stereo on pretty much a daily basis during my school years.

It’s not that we didn’t have common interests, but there was no special interest.  Not like he enjoyed with my brothers.  You see, Dad loved to golf.  So do both of my brothers.  Me?  Um…  Nope.  I couldn’t even hit a softball with a bat most of the time.  A tennis ball?  Never.  So my odds of even pretending to play with a ball that small were slim to none.

Sometimes I really wish I’d have tried, but knew I’d be intruding on the whole male bonding thing.  So I’m especially sorry that we didn’t have the music…

Dad’s favorite Elton John song.

I’ve thought about some things I could say to pay tribute to him, but I think something a friend wrote the day after he died says it best.  I’ll be changing some names just because I don’t know if they’d want them in my blog.

    I came into Lynn’s life, probably later than anyone, save a young grandchild or two.  But, I consider myself most fortunate to have called myself his friend.
   I met Lynn and and his wife seven years ago, while I was dating my husband Rob.  Seems that they generously fed the then single Rob a home-cooked meal every Sunday.  Perhaps they viewed me as someone to give him a meal in his own home, but Rob never had it so good as at their house!
   Rob thought of Lynn as a brother–with a closeness that I have not seen him have with his own brother.  So, if Lynn was Rob’s honorary brother, then I was certainly honored to be Lynn’s ‘sister-in-law!’
   Lynn was one of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met!  He was no pushover, though.  Lynn accepted me because his friend Rob accepted me.  (and yes, because he and his wife probably wanted a Sunday dinner alone!)  One had to respect and care for Lynn’s family and friends before you were blessed with his respect, friendship, and generosity.
   If a caring, selfless, and generous friend was needed, Lynn was there.  If there was sheetrock to be hung, Lynn was there.  When furniture needed to be moved, Lynn was there.  When there was electricity or remodeling to be done, yeah, Lynn was there.  And he always brought the know-how, the energy, and a smile with him.  Best of all-he always brought the necessary tools!
   There is no doubt that Lynn wouldn’t hesitate to give the shirt off his back, to someone who needed it.  Fortunately, we never had to ask him for that.
   And one of the most discouraging things about Lynn, was that we could never ‘one-up’ him!  He always did more for us, than we could possibly do for him!
   Do you know Lynn?  I’ve listed a few of my observations, and remember, I’ve known him for such a short period of time:

The proud captain piloting his boat through what I call the everglades, the way to get to the lake at his house up north.

*Lynn would giggle when he drank a bit too much.
*Lynn helped raise 6 children, and didn’t seem to know who were ‘his’ and  who were ‘hers’.  To my eyes, Lynn showed the same love, care and respect to each.  And he was justifiably proud of all of them!
*Lynn had a head of hair that men and women were envious of!  And if he encountered an inept ‘stylist’, Lynn made sure that the word got out, so that no one else would suffer.
*When Lynn’s back injuries prevented him from hauling cars full-time, he put all housekeepers to shame with his cooking and cleaning, to help while his wife worked full-time.
*Lynn tried, and sometimes failed, at various diets with me.  He wasn’t overweight, just a bit undertall!
*Lynn has given his time and energies to his mother-in-law in ways that most flesh and blood sons fail to do for their own mothers!
*Did you know that Lynn generously offered to perform Rob’s vasectomy with his Swiss Army knife?  (Did I mention that Lynn always provided the necessary tools?)  Luckily, Rob had the good sense to decline the offer!
*Lynn was often the person to suggest ‘passing the hat’ when an acquaintance fell on hard times.
*Lynn and his wife ‘carried’ Rob and I in our last-place standing in the Moose bowling league.  And we were probably the only team to receive that distinction 2 years in a row!
*Lynn could always be counted on to have a cup of coffee, or play golf, or take someone to the airport, or get someone home from the hospital.  All of these and more–whether he had previous plans or not!

   I feel sure that Lynn had his flaws-he was human, after all.  But, don’t ask me what those might be.  I’ve asked, and can find no one with a single grievance, real or imagined!
   Everyone has their favorite memories and stories about Lynn.  Don’t you know that he’s here among us (probably with a cup of coffee in hand), embarrassed by all of the attention and praise?  You know that he’s prodding us to get back to our families, resume our lives, and give him a thought every now and then.
   Finally, I can count on one hand, the very few people as good and generous as Lynn!  I never knew Lynn’s religious affiliation, but I do know that he lived his life by the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto other’s as you would have them do unto you.’  I pray that we didn’t disappoint you, Lynn!
   Thank you for leaving us with such beautiful memories!  We have been blessed knowing you, Lynn, and are much better people for that pleasure!         -Kathy

I haven’t read this in a long time.  It’s still hard to see the words because they’re so very true.

The first time I heard this song, I was driving-and thought I’d wreck the car.  It still makes me cry every time I hear it.  I miss you, Dad.  Happy Birthday.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Happy Birthday, Dad

  1. lynnkelleyauthor

    What an awesome tribute to your dad. We need more people like him in the world. I bet he did become an Elton John fan because he heard you playing his music.

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  4. What a moving tribute. You are so lucky to have had a dad like yours. Not everyone can say the same.

  5. Coleen Patrick

    Lovely tribute!!!

  6. Thanks, Shelly. You’re right. Our father’s are ours…and that is the point. And thanks, too…the cold is pretty much gone. Just catching up on some sleep the past couple of days. I’m fairly sure the swamp sludge is helping with getting over it, especially since I’ve started using it twice a day.

    • Ah, sweet swamp sludge, serendipitous slurry of sloshy savoriness, saving this siren from suffering by snuffing out the cells of her sickness.

      hee hee.

      You, by the way, are the siren. “Cells” is a bit of a stretch for bacteria and viruses, but oh well. Now, before I get even loopier, I’m off to bed. Sweet dreams!

  7. LOL! Uh- Sweet would be SO not the right word to describe this stuff. I got the brand I ordered from Amazon about a week ago. It makes Barlean’s seem like a hot fudge milkshake. Still not as bad as some health food things I’ve tried, but it’s pretty close to that line. Not to mention with this you get the whole mulched grass clippings experience, too. 🙂

    Sweet dreams, Shelly. With the thought you put into that tongue twister, you may dream of swimming in swamp sludge though. Definitely not sweet dreams. Just chant, as you’re falling asleep, hot fudge shakes, brownies, Boston cream pie… 🙂

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