Monday, January 4, 2010

Today is my Dad's 99th Birthday

I could have said, "Today would have been my Dad's 99th birthday" and the tense would be truer--he's no longer with us.  But do we stop celebrating birthdays just because the honoree  isn't here to blow out the candles?  I hope not.

Wish this was in better condition.  I love it.
My dad was not a gusher.  He was a toucher, not a hugger.  A pat on the shoulder, a tap on the head. . .that was about as close as he came to showing physical affection after I got too gangly to be sitting on his lap.  But I never doubted that he loved me.

He was not well-spoken, not well-read, but he understood completely his daughter's insatiable need for reading material.  For a time, on most paydays (when there was a payday), he would surprise me with the very book I had been hinting for all week.  When that wasn't possible, he would sit quietly at the public library while I searched the stacks for signs of magic.

He lived to be 78, a hard worker almost to the end.  In his later years he became a notorious (and really, a hilarious) curmudgeon, but to nearly everybody but me.  I don't remember him ever raising his voice to me.  When I began dating, he was a nervous wreck but he left it to my mother to pass along his warnings.  "Your dad says you need to be in before midnight. . ."

He was gruffer with my brothers, Mike and Chris, but there was never any doubt that he loved them both.

He loved his grandkids and always had some special surprise for them when they visited.  He taught the other man in my life how to cook Italian.  His Chicken Cacciatore has never been duplicated, but my husband's comes mighty close.

He was seven years older than my mother, but he outlived her by three years.  She died eight months after they celebrated their 50th anniversary, and on that day he began to die.  His days without her were sad enough that when he slipped into a fog and finally passed, it was with our blessing.

Today he would have been 99 years old.  Even though he would have pretended otherwise, I think he would have liked that we noticed.


Ramona

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ramona, I love that picture and I loved your Dad and have world-class memories of his cooking. My favorite were his meatballs and I have never tasted the like of them ever again and of course the Chicken Cacciatorre was excellent beyond excellent. And I remember the work that he did with upholstering that I would think are still around. His workmanship was superb and all those upholstery nails were evenly distributed and he held them on his lips. I found that to be incredible. And I remember walking into your house for a family dinner and the command came from Uncle Ralph, "Eat"... And we all did. Truly one of my two favorite Uncles and he was always so good to me and so welcoming to everyone. And he did not mince words with anyone but had a big heart. He was missed and is missed and he left his mark on our entire family, here and now. I am so glad you did this. Love Nedra

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, happy birthday to the man who created you. Warm to read a celebration of life to one who pathed a road of love for you A. Mona, remembering those who came before us should be reconized more often. Love, NB

Ken Riches said...

Wonderful sentiment and memories. We can only hope that in the future, we have loved ones behind that remember us with such fondness :o)

Ramona Grigg said...

Thank you, Nedra, Nancy and Bucko. Wouldn't my dad have been shocked that he made it onto the internet? Come to think of it, I'm not sure he even knew what the internet was!

Oh, well. . .love is in the air. That's what counts.