Tomorrow, my Dad turns 60. This would really blow my mind, except my dad has not yet acknowledged that he's aging, and as a consequence, looks in my mind like he did when I was a little girl and he was a god.
This is a picture of my dad, wearing the woefully oversized camouflage colored Jughead hat from the NOT JUST MORE SOCKS book--I offered him a way out of wearing it--it fits my son perfectly (think of every Mike Meyer's quote about enormous noggins and that's my son.) But he was so tickled that I made it for him (and that I picked the colors he loves best), that I don't think he's going to take me up on it. To celebrate my dad's birthday I figured I'd give you some details that make up the general dadscape that I grew up with.
* When I was seven and my dad and mom got divorced, my dad asked me who I wanted to stay with. I chose him. This was 1974, and a dad who kept his kid was unheard of. I can't imagine a world in which I didn't grow up with my dad.
* Shortly after that every good thing my dad ever did in all his past lives caught up with him, and he met my stepmom. She was the best thing to ever happen to him, and one of the best things to ever happen to me. (I must also count my grown-up family--she was his grown-up family.)
* My dad used to put me on the back of his motorcycle because that was the only transportation we had. He said that when I was falling asleep he'd shake my clasped hands to wake mme up.
* When my dad was working and going to school, he used to sleep under the car, while pretending to fix it because he knew I'd leave him alone. (I wish I worked on cars. Hiding in the bathroom isn't working.)
* The first time I saw my dad cry was when our dog Sparky died. He's always claimed that if he's really good in this life, when he comes back he'll be a labrador retriever. I think he'll be the best one ever.
* My dad still rides a motorcycle--he looks like he rides a motorcycle, and although he's nursed his handlebar mustache and his soul patch for the last 30 years, the truth is, other than knowing he's the world's nicest guy who looks really tough, he has absolutely no vanity. He has always brushed his hair in the car on the way to work.
* My dad taught me how to drive. I'm including this tidbit so that those who know me can include his name in the class action suit after I demolish their automobile in some way, shape, or form.
* My dad went for about a ten or fifteen year span when he got a ticket every year. He was extremely proud of that. My stepmom, who paid the insurance bill was not so proud.
* My dad saw all my plays in high school, and many of my band performances. He also watched my stepbrother play football.
* After my dad and stepmom first met, my stepsister (who was three at the time) kept asking her mom "Which is bigger. A giraffe or Pete? An elephant or Pete? A giant or Pete?" In recent years, my stepsister has made my dad carrot cake on his birthdays more often than not--he looks forward to it.
* My dad plays frisbee golf--he actually entered a tournament at Shasta as a Senior about five years ago. He finished in the top ten Senior division, but he says that's only because he was the only one his age who didn't party with the young-uns without wrecking himself.
* My dad can fix anything except computer. My husband can fix computers and not everything else. After the initial friction of "who are you and what are your intentions towards my daughter" they have always gotten along very well.
* My dad is a tremendous graphic artist. If he'd been born in this day and age, he'd be working for Pixar, I know that in my bones.
* My dad and stepmom took us cross country in an RV when I was 14. This should be a requirement for every young person in every country across the world.
* My dad is six-foot five, and when he was younger he had curly hair the color of cherry coke, eyes the colors of a Hershey bar, and more freckles than a spotted trout. My son Trystan is his spitting image which makes me prouder than I can say.
* Trystan gets his desire to tell terrible jokes from my dad.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PETE--YOU'RE VERY, VERY LOVED.