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To D.O.D. from D.D.

March 3, 2008

Dear Dad,

Happy 67th birthday. This is one of my favorite pictures of you from recent years:

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It’s from Fort Ligonier Days in 2005. I love this photo because to me, in many ways it captures your essence. I cannot imagine anything more perfect for you than getting to ride on the back of a fire truck in the Fort Days parade. And I know that the smile on your face is an indicator of the pure joy you felt not only on that day, but really every day since you returned to your little hometown to enjoy retirement. You spent your childhood in Ligonier, and I like to think you are spending your second childhood there now.

In honor of your birthday, I thought I would take a moment and recall some of the finer memories that we have shared in the 40 years that I have known you. Who could ever forget… [note to readers: many inside jokes to follow. Just roll with it.] :

  • “Let’s sneak up on George!” When you would come to tuck me in to bed as a little girl, I’d say “let’s sneak up on George!” and then we’d try to crawl down the hallway to his room and scare him. I don’t know if we ever really did surprise him, but I sure thought it was fun.
  • Going to Orioles games in Memorial Stadium back in the 70s.
  • That Halloween on Glenwood Road when you were just as excited as we were to create the pumpkin head monster in the bushes in the front yard. A step ladder, a sheet, and I think we used a couple rakes to make the arms. Whooooooooo….
  • Creating our favorite palindrome: TEN TON SNOT NET
  • Composing and singing wonderful original French songs, including:
    “La Peste Bubonique
    La Peste Bubonique
    La Peste Bubonique,
    C’est une maladie unique!”
    translation: “The Bubonic Plague…. is a unique sickness.”
  • The time you rode the Flying Scooters at Conneaut Lake Park with me, until you got sick.
  • The time you took George and me to see “Jaws” on its second run in the theaters. I had begged and begged you to let me see it… and then I begged and begged you to take me home!
  • Dad-n-Daughter on the car show circuit, late 70s and early 80s.
  • The time you fell off the roof of the house while painting it. And then the paramedics came and slipped the neck brace on you while you were lying there on the lawn. And then they asked if you could move your arms and legs. And you said yes, and then proceeded to demonstrate with some rapid oblique crunches. All while covered in yellow paint.
  • The ceremonial handing-down of the chamois, on the day I left home in my brand new Celica for uncharted territory in Kentucky. Got to keep that car shiny!
  • Our trip to New York City in 1996. We stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria and I sent you out late on the first night to get me something to eat (demanding pregnant woman!). That was the BEST tuna sandwich I have ever had.

 

 

Thanks for being Santa Claus when I was little. It took a couple years for me to realize that Santa’s handwriting was exactly like Daddy’s, but even after I figured it out, I didn’t mind.

Thanks for taking me to church every Sunday. I just can’t imagine what people do without it.

Thanks for teaching me about generosity. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good at it as you, but I am trying every day.

Thanks for being my Dad. You’re the best.

Love, “Cartoon Eyes”

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