so today . . . is not my dad's birthday. his birthday was yesterday.
i was going to write a birthday blog for him, but diandra beat me to it! and she wrote a great tribute to my dad, her gramps, so i am not even going to try to improve on it. i'm just glad we got to celebrate with him...
when diandra was five years old, my dad had open heart surgery. he had been in the mojave desert playing in his silver mine for a couple of weeks, and had driven all the way back to southern oregon in time for my birthday. my mom and grandma drove down from portland, and we had a nice weekend together celebrating our birthdays. then my dad drove five more hours to get home. he hadn't been feeling good since he left california, so when he got back to portland, he went to the doctor. his doctor did some tests and immediately sent him to the hospital for emergency heart surgery. IN AN AMBULANCE! because the doctor was afraid that he might have a heart attack before he could drive himself to the hospital--the test results were that bad.
yes, after driving 1000 miles by himself, he had to go the last few miles to the hospital in an ambulance.
my mom called to tell me, and diandra and i got in the car and zoomed up the freeway. i admit i was scared. i felt fortunate that my dad had made it safely to the hospital, but the surgery he was going to have was not a slam-dunk! i did not even want to think about what might happen--but i did, and it scared me. i didn't want to lose him. i wanted diandra to have experiences with my dad. i wanted my dad to have time to teach her about all the cool things he taught me. i wanted him to watch her grow up and have a part in affecting who she would be. and i was afraid that might not happen.
we waited, and we worried. he survived the surgery, but the recovery was difficult. thankfully my dad is strong, and he made it.
that was twenty years ago. if you met my dad today, you would never guess that he had undergone open heart surgery. because he has spent the last twenty years looking for rocks, golfing, hunting, painting our houses, fixing things, fishing (in rivers, lakes, and the ocean--if it is wet, and there are fish in it, he is there!) dredging for gold, skiing, and tromping around the mojave desert. sometimes he takes a break from all those high energy activities by reading or farming on facebook.
yes, my dad has a facebook page.
his newest endeavor is helping my brother with his business by attending sports shows.
when i mention that my dad is turning 80 this year, people always ask how he is. it is a reasonable question--many people his age are feeling the effects of being alive for just over three quarters of a century and are slowing down. but not my dad. he still gets up early, works all day, and goes to bed early. some days he is happy to sit in a chair and read, but most days you will find him fixing something for someone (because my dad can fix anything! really!) or fishing. or planning to go fishing. or calling my brother to see if he wants to go fishing.
there are days when i feel my age--days when my body won't do things the way it used to, or days when it takes me a little longer to get up from sitting on the floor, or days when i have an ache or a pain. i'm sure this is probably true for my dad too. he has some health issues, just as most of us over the age of 30 do. but on those days when his body is giving him grief, i hope he will either take some sort of pill, or sit down and rest for a while, and just remember how much we love him.
because we expect him to be around for a lot more years . . .. . . to continue teaching diandra all the cool stuff he taught us, and have a part in affecting who we are!
i love you, dad! and don't worry--i have plenty of material to write birthday blogs for a long, long time. just keep those birthdays coming . . . :)