My father's birthday is December 30th. He was the youngest in the old year/ not quite in the new. My father was a tall man, a big man, solid not fat. He loved to tell jokes, and was a story teller, and a writer. He was handsome. I visit him on his birthday. Some winters snow covers the ground for weeks and months. I cannot get to the cemetery, even though it is only twenty minutes from my house. My father would not mind, he would say, " come when you can".
For a big man his grave is small. He has bushes planted on it, I think he would have preferred flowers. My father mowed and planted until he couldn't. He planted small trees and shrubs because he said they would continue after he was gone, and they did.
My father was a wonderful Grandpa. He studied with the kids for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. He baby sat when I returned to work. He bought unusual gifts. The Hess trucks were a seasonal favorite. In some ways my dad was very modern. He loved computers, microwaves and gadgets. Coupons were a source of great delight/ now I channel his passion and do couponing too. In other ways my father was old fashioned. He did not believe in liberated women. He enjoyed his food and never worried about the negative health implications of his diet. He loved frankfurters, lasagna, hot peppers, and all fried food. Fancy restaurants confused him because he believed portions should be large and you should feel stuffed after a good meal.
My father went to bed early and woke at four to read and do paper work. He had a head for math and languages, a talent I did not inherit. He and my mother were married for a very long time. Family, small and extended were very important to him. He taught me about football and explained many PSU games to me. My father kept clothes forever. He had jackets I saw Desi Arnez wear on the " I Love Lucy Show". My father was a soldier, and a prisoner of war, and a smoker. The smoking killed him. He died after a three week illness. Deaths are shocking... I will be going to the cemetery soon to tell my father about my grand baby, and the one on the way. I miss you, daddy. Happy Birthday.