Today is my dad’s birthday. He would be 61 years old. My dad called me “pad’nuh” (partner for those that don’t speak Southern) my whole life. Pods for short. He was something special, my dad. I wonder what I would have gotten him for his birthday as an adult. Or would I still be a kid, be the daughter and not get him a thing and let him take me out to celebrate. That actually sounds a lot more like me.
On my last birthday with him, my 16th, we drove around the country together-looking at land. I drove him around while he smoked cigars. We drove for hours. It seemed a little ridiculous to me at the time. Its the best birthday I’ve ever had. I’ve been trying to remember his birthdays and how we would celebrate. I can’t remember them at all. I can’t remember if we celebrated him. I hope we did.
I think he’d like the life I’ve made here in Houston. I don’t think he’d like the fact that I wasn’t within arm’s reach of him… but he’d like it none the less. I wish I could have known him now, as an adult. I am pretty sure he’d be my best friend.
I recently met a man that reminds me so very much of my dad that sometimes it hurts. I am caught off guard by little things he does that are “Bubba” and it surprises me that it still makes me sad. It surprises me how much I missed those things. Its made me think about my dad more than usual and its a consistent reminder of him. Like how he wore deck shoes everywhere and called them “his deckers”, like practicing duck calls, the ways his ankles popped when he walked, how he’d rub the top of your head when he walked by, the way he pushed the envelope, found your weak spot and teased you about it, or the way he’d put his arm around me when we walked somewhere. But try as I might I cannot remember the sound of his voice.
So, I guess my birthday wish for him today would be to remember that sound. That sweet sound of comfort and safety, the sound of my daddy’s voice.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.