Today my dad turns…old…at least another year older. I can never remember his exact age and I hate math, so there you have it. I wanted to take a minute and acknowledge my daddy and wish him the biggest happy birthday ever!. From the minute I was born (so they tell me) I was a daddy’s girl. We just clicked…isn’t that the way it goes with little girls and their dads? Especially since I was his first girl…which obviously means I am his favorite.
So I want to say cheers to this man. He is the reason I love Shakespeare, the outdoors, and music like Led Zepplin, James, Taylor, Paul Simon, and Vivaldi. When I was five years old there was a picture taken of me holding five fish I caught “all by myself.” I have always been proud of that picture, thinking it was so neat that I could fish like a pro at age five. Of course, now I realize, my papa san must have been the one doing the heavy lifting. As any good father would, he let me take the credit. Credit I willingly took until probably today as I thought of the memory.
When I was a baby my dad owned a skunk. I don’t remember the skunk obviously, but there is a picture, somewhere in the universe, of me in one of those walkers and a little skunk nearby. I am sure I knew then that my daddy was super legit. If the lore I recall is correct, I believe the skunk had had its scent glands deactivated somehow, possibly removed. At least that is how I choose to remember the stories told to me about sharing a living space with a skunk.
My dad has taught me to crave adventures. When I was little I received a set of cross country skis. We only went one time. And even though it was bitterly cold, I hold it as one of my fondest memories. One of those Arctic winds had blown in. And my grandpa drove us up to Brighton ski resort and then picked us up at Solitude a couple miles down…the order of the resorts may be backwards or entirely incorrect. However the fact remains, we cross country skied for what seemed like a freezing eternity. When my grandpa picked us up at the lower ski resort, I don’t think I could move my face because it was so cold. But grandpa had chili and hot chocolate waiting for us in his mauve-ish tan Oldsmobile (that may have been my favorite part of the adventure). I think dad felt bad for it being so cold, but thanks to him I have a pretty cool story to tell and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I have so many memories of him trying to instill a desire to experience life through the outdoors. When I was 12 my dad paid for me to take scuba diving lessons. I never got certified because I had asthma, but I did scuba dive in Murray High School’s swimming pool. I was younger then that when he put me on a horse. I fell off on my first ride with my sister, but he taught me to get back up again. We were in Cedar City that weekend visiting the Shakespeare festival. The outfit I was wearing when I rode was stolen from my mom and I had to sit through Julius Caesar with a cold cloth on my face to ease the sting of the scratches from the sagebrush. He gives me so many stories of adventure to tell even now with trips to Moab, instilling a newfound love of Opera, and encouraging me to chase my dreams.
Without my dad, my sisters and I probably wouldn’t be as competitive as we are (or as stubborn for that matter). This makes for some really entertaining game nights. All of us trying to win sure makes life interesting. And sad for them, because they always lose, because I am a champion; thanks dad. I have memories of playing games like Monopoly, where the competitive man would move his piece about the board only to knock yours over intentionally if he passed it. A tradition I happily noticed he is demonstrating when he plays games with my nieces and nephews.
When I was a teenager, well into adulthood, he and I butt heads like no other. Getting along was difficult since we were both always right. I am so grateful for the relationship we have today. I have two amazing sisters who are twins and they are so close. We all love each other and my envy for their closeness is easing with each year that I get older. Last Christmas I was lamenting that I did not have Joshua, a younger brother close to my age, whom we lost when he was only an hour and a half old. I told my dad that I wished I had a friend like my sisters had for each other. My dad sweetly told me he IS my friend. And it is so true. Papa San, you are my dearest friend and I love you so much. Happy Birthday! I hope your day is filled with nothing but happiness and love. I miss you and wish you lived closer. XOXOXO