Turning the Big 1-0-0: Somebody Call Willard Scott!

Today is my dad’s birthday. If he were still with us, Dad would be 100 years old today.

Maybe he’d get his mug on a Smuckers jar as one of Willard Scott’s birthday boys. That would have been fun…for me, anyway. “Hey, Dad, look–you made the Geezer list!”

Oh, wait a minute. I’d better shut up. I’m now a geezer myself.

Had he not retired, I believe Dad would still be alive today. Before his retirement, he was always physically active–and as a result, healthy. After he retired, he gained a lot of weight and drank heavily for almost ten years. He was, surprisingly, not an alcoholic. When he decided to stop, he just stopped. It was that simple. Same with smoking. He was very young (nine, I think) when he started smoking. He stopped when he was in his sixties…and never lit up again. Mom didn’t make it easy for him. Unlike Dad, Mom had no willpower. They’d agreed to stop smoking at the same time. Dad stopped; Mom became a closet smoker.

I remember the day he caught her smoking in the bathroom. He went outside to the bathroom window and tapped on the glass. “Either you’re smoking, or the bathroom’s on fire,” he called out to her. “Should I call the fire department?”

He and I frequently butted heads. Mom said that was because we were too much alike. It took him longer than it should have to know when I was ignoring him. I had a friend he actively disliked (to be fair, his reasons were valid–but it was still my choice to make). One night, she and I were going out drinking (told you his reasons were valid). As I got into her car, he came to the front door and yelled, “If you go, don’t come back!”

Shirley was more concerned about that than I was. “He’s really mad. Maybe you shouldn’t go.”
I shrugged it off. “He’ll still be mad when I get back,” I told her.

He was. I think we argued for almost a week.

He was 77 when he passed away on January 29, 1991. He wasn’t perfect by any means–there are things for which I’ve forgiven him but never forgot, and I’m sure he could say the same about me. But I still love him. I still miss him and Mom. I still find myself, after all these years, wanting to tell them things, wishing they were here for the high points, needing them during the lows.

Happy Birthday, Dad….


14 responses

  1. Wouldn't it be cool to have a birthday party at 100? It would kind of be weird being the oldest one at the party! 🙂 This is a very nice tribute to your dad who sounds like he must have been a whippersnapper in his young days.

  2. A fitting tribute to your dad, Norma. Quite a day to mark.

    That's also quite a photograph of him.

    And no matter how long they're gone, we'll miss them, wishing for one more chance to speak with them.

  3. Wonderful tribute Norma..I can't believe how many similarities between your Dad and mine.. my Dad's birthday was the 13th Nov. he also was very active until retirement.. we even had that same argument 'if you go don't come back' :)) but I loved him dearly and still miss heaps!

  4. Thank you, all of you! Your comments are deeply appreciated!

    Grace: We–including Dad–thought his birthday was November 11th until he retired and had to get his birth certificate to apply for his pension. We told him he had to return all the birthday gifts he got under false pretenses–he told us we owe him decades of gifts for missing his real birthday!

  5. Sounds like your dad had a great sense of humor! I think parents always think they know best. As long as the love's there, it doesn't matter. Sounds like your dad had a lot of love in him.

  6. My parents raised twins, the biological children of one of my cousins, from nine months to adulthood. He could get them to confess to anything just by letting them think he already knew they were guilty. Mom and I would just shake our heads and wonder if they'd ever figured it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s