Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday...


That's right, Dad was a 4th of July baby who weighed in at a whopping ten pounds. Now as his first born, I wasn't quite that large, but it was evident from all the photos I've been scanning this week that my 8 pounds made a pretty big impact on him. Here we are with the family car, circa 1959. That hand on my back pretty much summed it up. No matter what happened, I always felt like Dad had my back.

Cars played a big part of our relationship as well. I remember standing on the front seat of the family car at the ripe old age of about 3, handing Dad newspapers to toss on a route he took for some extra cash. I thought it was fun...even if by today's standards, we'd probably both have been fined.

I remember Dad would pop the hood on the family car and suddenly, I wanted to know exactly what all those parts were for and how they worked. After my fifteenth annoying question of "But why does it do that?" Dad would sigh and ask why I was so interested in cars only when the hood was up and he had work to do? I would shrug but deep down, I just liked spending time with him, learning something new. The only oath of secrecy I ever took was that I would not, under any circumstances, repeat any of the 4 letter words that Mom would not approve of which only slipped out of his mouth when knuckles met metal. I kept my pledge. Sorry Mom...but he used that Memaw word you hate.

Mom taught me how to drive, but the family joke was that if Dad stood in front of the car and watched me, I couldn't get it to start! Some part of me wanted to impress Dad because I always thought men wanted a son for a firstborn, someone to hand down the family legacy to. I never thought that Dad might be proud of the driver I'd become and wanted to see me off safely. Yeah, if I could ever get out of the driveway.

And I did get out of the driveway, learning life lessons that sometimes involved tears...but never a car accident. Then came the day I dreaded....and it came too early. I had to start driving Dad. To his chemo sessions. It was time for me to have Dad's back.

And yet, on the way there and back, depending on how far along we were with his treatments, we talked. About everything. Hopes, dreams, wishes....for him and for me. Sometimes it wasn't fun, especially when the rides entailed estate and funeral planning. But we still managed to find humor in that too...pretending to add silly songs instead of the hymns he loved. When we were kids, Dad would always tease us with "You done good." I threatened to put that on his tombstone. He smiled. Sometimes I wish I had...even in very small letters.

This morning I woke up and realized while the rest of America celebrates its independence, my independence from Dad wasn't the one I'd expected at this age. With Auntie dying, that means Dad's immediate family is all gone. For the first time in my life, the 4th of July is....different.

But as I ride back to my hometown today to enjoy BBQ with Hubby's family, I will still think the same thing. Wasn't it nice of Dad to share his birthday with America?

Sparklers shall be waved in your honor Dad. Happy Birthday!


Jerry said...

Your Dad is mighty proud of you.

This was a wonderful tribute -- said just right. I will light a sparkler -- that is the limit of foray into fireworks -- in his honor.

Monkey Man said...

Now that's Americana. Happy b-day to Dad and America. Great post, Hope. Happy 4th to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Hau`oli La Hanau to your dad. What an excellent tribue to him my friend. I will be thinking of him tonight as we watch all the fireworks. Happy 4th to you and your family. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Lovely photo!

Winifred said...

That was a lovely story. What great memories you have of him. Something to be really thankful for.

Larry said...

Hope . You did good This was a fantastic tribute to a great Father Who did good with his children. Were having a few fireworks in my Fathers honor we buried my Father just two years ago I miss him so much.

The Fourth Of July

"You made me smile Hope"
Beautiful Tribute.
Larry Moon

Peggy said...

I will thinking of your dad too, as I'm watching the fireowrks today. I thank him for making you and sharing you with all of us.
He was the seed.
Happy Birthday Hope's Dad, you sure have a great little girl!
Love the pop the car hood part, with you looking on wanting to know all the parts.
Have a great celebration today.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

How neat! A Fourth of July birthday! I hope you had a great day!

savannah said...

xoxoxox (((sugarpie)))

Titus said...

Yes, Happy Birthday Dad, a generous man.

Lovely, lovely, post.

mapstew said...

I thought I left something here earlier, well anyway, this was lovely! :¬)


hope said...

I think Dad would approve of all the kind and wonderful people who drop by my playground! :)

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Your Dad sounds like an Awesome Dad. He sounds a lot like My Dad. Thank you for Sharing Hope, and Happy Birthday Dad.

Dan said...

One word Hope.


A fantastic tribute to what sounds like an amazing man.

I think you both must be proud of each other?

Susan at Stony River said...

Happy Birthday Daddy!
That was a wonderful post and I loved the photos.

Queen Teen lost her title on the fourth, too, turning 20 years old. What do I call her now?

ninotaziz said...

What a beautiful picture from the past, and what a beautiful story to go with it...

Thank you Hope.