One Graham's View

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pop

Today is my father’s birthday, who is hitting the three-quarter century mark. But this is a poignant stamp of time in my life, as well.

On this day in 1993, all of my family and a good collection of my dad’s friends, assembled from his various paths of life had gathered for a surprise 60th birthday party for him. I recall so well all of the special steps that had been orchestrated to make everything just right.
My brother and I took special care to move the cars of the party attendees, parking them around the corner from Mom and Pop’s house, so when he came home from work that afternoon, he didn’t know what was up. Everybody milled around the covered back porch and pool area, getting ready for him to come home. The icing on the cake was that two of his best friends had driven in from North Dakota just to be there and they would be the last to pop up and say “Surprise.”

It was also that day, fifteen years ago that I last saw Pop’s face. I'm 46 now, so that means I've not seen him for a third of my lifetime. The good thing for him is that, to me, he looks the same today as he did that day when he received his assorted collection of black balloons and other “Over The Hill” items for his birthday. In my mind’s eye, he hasn’t aged a day since then, even though I personally know how much he has slowed since then.

I’m not wanting to get too reflective here, but just wanted to mark time and celebrate the growth we’ve both made in our lives since then. It was the events that followed on Oct. 9, almost one month to the day after his surprise party that all our lives took a wicked and unexpected twist, changing us forever. All of us in our family have come a long ways since then and that is what we should recognize, not any negative downsides of the aging process.

To that end, Pop, I wish you a happy 75th. And I’m very proud to be your son.

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