Happy Birthday to my Dad

I wasn’t going to do a post today. I’ve been a bit blue and thought the hell with it. I just wanted to have a small all day pity party for myself. But, that’s not usually me. The few times I get down, I usually don’t let myself stay there. Too dangerous to slowly slip into that black hole. Been there, I didn’t like it. Not going there again.

Most people who read my blog know a few things. One, I don’t usually post depressing stuff, especially if it’s personal. Two, I don’t post a whole lot of personal stuff to begin with. Why am I down today? I’ll tell you.

Today is my Dad’s birthday (same day as Elvis, I know). He was born in 1929, so would have been 85 today, if he lived. He died a little over 10 years ago from prostate cancer. He fought a good battle and kept it at bay for a few years, then it just spread too far too fast. He died without me being able to say good-bye, or that I loved him.

And I did love him. He wasn’t perfect. Who is? He had a fast temper and took it out on us kids growing up. He did the best he could, I think. I never held the spankings or slaps or even the occasional kick against him. It didn’t kill us kids, but it sure made us respect him and sometimes even fear him. Which isn’t always such a bad thing. We had manners and we used them. My Dad was never afraid to take us kids with when they went somewhere because we knew not to act up or make a scene. We learned to respect people and people’s things.

Other times, though he was the most loving of fathers. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell dirty jokes when he had a beer or two. He was always trying to embarrass me with them. Didn’t usually work though. I would just laugh and then ask him questions about parts of the joke. Just to show him he didn’t embarrass me, even if sometimes he did. It was a game we played.

My Dad, Russ.
My Dad, Russ.

My dad loved to play card games. Mostly cribbage. He was an excellent cribbage player and taught me how to play. I even beat him a few times. I have 3 siblings and all of us were terrified of my dad when we were young. Mostly because he wasn’t around much, he worked nights, so when he was up we were in school. When we got home, he was all ready gone to work.

He was the disciplinarian in the family, not that my mother didn’t discipline us, my father was the ultimate threat to us though and it worked every time. If any of my siblings wanted to know something from my dad, or wanted their allowance, they would have me go ask him. They said he never said ‘no’ to me. Looking back, they must be right, because I don’t ever remember him saying ‘no’ to me. The others, yes, me never. I never thought about it till my younger brother confronted me after dad died and told me I had been dad’s favorite.

My dad was referee between my mother and me. My mom and me have a long history of not getting along. Dad would step in when mom got too out of hand with me. I always appreciated that.

After he died, I learned that Dad always bragged to people about me. You see I paint, I love to paint pictures of animals, scenery, old barns, things like that. I’m completely self-taught and used to send Dad the odd little painting. I never knew how he liked them, as he wasn’t a very demonstrative man. Then I learn he bragged to all his friends that I was an artist and would show them my small gifts. Sometimes though I wish he would have told his daughter the same things.

Dad was a quiet man who loved to read westerns or books on gardening. He loved to garden and could grow just about anything. He loved animals and I share that trait with him. I also am the only one in the family that shared his love of reading and books. I suppose I am a lot like my dad and that couldn’t make me prouder.

I miss him. I miss talking to him, I miss his jokes, I miss his mannerisms. His off-color jokes, his wicked laugh and the twinkle in his blue eyes. I miss his quietness, his debates with me on whether there was a God or not (he was an atheist, I’m just me). I miss our card games on a winter afternoon. I miss seeing him use his hands when he talked (he was German). I even miss the arguments we had a few times. No one ever won, and we both would say we were sorry. I miss asking his advice on things (as long as it wasn’t mechanical we were good).

My dad loved ice cream, rare steaks, beer and dirty jokes. He enjoyed baking and cooking and was very good at it. He also loved my mom more than anyone in the world.

And I loved my dad.

Have a wonderful birthday Daddy, where ever you are.

Your daughter.

 

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27 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to my Dad

  1. I’m so sorry for your down day, Jackie. But this is the kind of down that is good to wallow in. It is good to remember and miss your dad.

    You and I have talked about our dads before, I believe. The similarities are uncanny.

    My dad’s birthday was January 6. My dad died of brain cancer. My dad loved to play cribbage, and he read Westerns and gardening books. He was the man who wielded the belt – which we deserved. My dad was the referee between my mom and me. My dad was funny!

    I think it’s pretty neat that your dad and my dad met in the afterlife and arranged for their daughters to meet. 🙂

    Love and hugs to you, dear.

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    1. Aww thanks Maddie, that made me tear up. I always thought we were soul sisters, this just proved it. Our dads are probably having a great game of cribbage right now. 🙂

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  2. I hope writing this helped lift you out of your blues. Your dad sounds a lot like my grandfather who I still miss terribly, he was German and born the 30th of this month.

    Looking at his picture you even inherited his looks. Happy birthday to your dad.

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  3. Thank you for sharing, Jackie. You linked me with memories of my father who died when I was 21. It was good for you to write this down…to visit the past…to pull a bit of love through the cracks of time. 🙂

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