For My Dad’s November Birthday

Dad with a group of his grandchildren, some of whom would grow up to comment about him on Facebook

Dad with a group of his grandchildren, some of whom, years later, commented about him on Facebook

In one of my favorite memories of my dad, we are power walking through an airport. Joel and I had flown with my father, eighty-eight at the time, to Nashville to visit my brother. Our flight home had a close connection in Houston, and we arrived late, thirty gates away from our next flight.

While Joel ran to try to detain the flight, I gave up on waiting for a cart, linked arms with Dad, and walked with him as fast as possible through the thronged concourse, counting down the gates. We were at twenty-two, on our way to fourteen, when Dad nudged me with his elbow, “Don’t worry, Janet; we’ll make it. I’m saving my kick for the finish.”

My siblings and I never talk about Dad for any length of time without telling stories and laughing. In-laws and grandchildren do the same. With his understated wit, amusing stories, singular descriptive phrases, and insistence on being himself, he made me laugh — even when, a petulant teenager, I tried not to.

In a Facebook post last year, I described how my father once mailed his adult offspring articles touting the consumption of large quantities of raw garlic. Some of his grandchildren and a daughter-in-law responded. Their comments follow:

Lori: Oh man, I vividly remember the garlic.

Katie: I also remember being treated to large glasses of apple cider vinegar.

Rebecca: Oh this made me miss Grandpa! The garlic brings back such sweet memories, but it also makes me wonder if I will be a happy old person like Grandpa was. I hope so.

Janice: Ah yes the garlic! I remember it well. I also thought of the olive oil; he believed it saved him from appendicitis and drank it often to prevent all manner of ills!

Shawna: Garlic and olive oil. I remember him expounding on how drinking olive oil was going to make him as old as Methuselah at our dining table in Alaska.

Lori: Yes, Shawna, I remember that! And he’d cackle after he said “MeTHUselah!”

Kelsey: He also ate parsley off the plate because “It’s good for your eyes.”

Katie: My favorite was “Ain’t that right, fellers?” Followed by that cackle.

Ruth: Love, love, love it!!

Oh how we loved this man and his quirks. Happy Birthday, Dad. We miss you.




19 thoughts on “For My Dad’s November Birthday

  1. I’m still smiling Janet! Your dad and mine could have been brothers, especially with their love of garlic, olive oil and cider vinegar. My dad added comfrey!! When I went home once with a broken bone in my foot, he recommended comfrey to be wrapped around my foot at night. The dry sense of humour echoes your dad. Weren’t we lucky to have such wonderful fathers!! Thank you for this post and Happy birthday to your dad, I’m sure he’s chuckling away reading your blog! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Garlic, olive oil, Apple Cider vinegar, all mainstays of the Health Food Industry. Love and humor, what a lovely tribute to your Dad. Mine did not smoke or drink, lived off farm produce, hunted and fished, of 12 siblings the only one cut down young, 50 years ago in Dec. I like to think of your Dad and mine, side by each, talking crops. Thanks Janet.

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      • Love the visual too, as every thing is connected and we do not learn why until we get there. Also see my Grandpa, quiet in his wisdom, in the corner peeling an orange. Love the unfiltered Grandchildren- classic photo, thanks Janet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My sister Barbara took the photo many years ago and I love it too. Dad was never happier than with his grandchildren and they, obviously, felt free to be themselves around him.I’m happy you introduced me to your grandfather: one lovely sentence told me so much. What a way with words you have.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I do garlic, olive oil, and parsley, but have resisted drinking apple cider vinegar. Don’t know why. I think the best health habit I got from my parents, one that my nieces didn’t mention, was an enjoyment of and preference for fruits and vegetables.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This made me smile! I will always be grateful that we lived so close to Grandpa and even had the chance to have him live with us for a short time. He was a great man– great in his simplicity. There were never any grand gestures or great outpourings of affection- but he always greeted me with a smile and a story. I love the story in the airport– thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful tribute to Dad for his birthday! The quotes from the grandchildren were spot on! I love this picture of him and the grandkids. Dad was so fun to travel with. When we took him to Albuquerque with us we heard all sorts of great stories along the way. I especially loved his Wallsenburg story as we passed by that town. I also remember picking him up at the airport in Denver-maybe it was the same trip? We stopped at Country Kitchen to eat in Ft. Collins and he and Jake were the top eaters of the night. We were about to leave when Jake and Dad went back for mashed potatoes and gravy. I wish I had a photo of those two! They both had the “squirrel cheeks”! It made me laugh!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Janet, reading the loving memories your family share about your Dad makes me wistful for the grandparents I had but didn’t know. How fortunate for your family to be anchored by a man like your Dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were fortunate, Mary, and — most of the time — knew it. I, too, am appreciative of the memories my nieces and nephews share because their viewpoint was different from that of their parents.


  6. How many of us have the ‘goof ball’ kids pictures that we all laugh and share. The comments show his ‘health food wisdom’ were not forgotten!
    I can only hope my grandparents’ happiness and wisdom remain with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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