It's my Dad's birthday! I would like to wish him a happy birthday by recalling favorite memories from the 33 years of his life that I've known him.
Here we go!
1977: Yeah . . . memories from this year are a little scarce, but I've seen photos. It looked fun.
1978: I remember Dad was underneath the car (working on it), I wondered what he was doing under there.
1979: Well, I remember Dad was NOT on the trip I took to Texas with Mom, Kristen, and Grandpa . . . absent presence, does that count?
1980: I remember my parents taking me to Empire Strikes Back, that was pretty great.
1981: I believe this was the year Dad took me to see the re-release of Star Wars at the movie theater down the street from our house as a reward for having given a talk in Primary. Don't remember the movie so much as I remember the walk home, talking about our favorite parts.
1982: If I dug deeper, I might be able to remember something besides sitting by my dad during Tron. But that's a good one.
1983: About this time, or maybe the year before, my dad starts taking me outside once a year to see if I'm big enough to start the lawn mower on my own. He was so eager to instill a good work ethic in me!
1984: Olympic Fever! While watching the Opening Ceremonies on TV (even though we could see the balloon launch and fireworks from our backyard . . . is that even possible?) we went out back and the men in attendance had a Long Jump competition. If you weren't in Los Angeles in 1984, you just don't understand Olympic Fever the way we had it.
1985: I was going to Christian School and they were always asking us if we had Asked Jesus into Our Hearts, and if we hadn't, telling us to do it. I didn't understand what this meant, so I didn't do it. I asked my Dad about it, he told me there were religions that thought all you had to do to get to heaven was ask Jesus to come into your heart, that they didn't even think you needed to be baptized. Didn't need to be baptized?! That sounded crazy to me. I was coming up on 8, I knew how important baptism was.
1986: Mom got appendicitis while she was pregnant and was in the hospital for a while, eventually coming home with Owen. It was a scary time, but I remember eventually being more afraid of being drilled on my multiplication tables on the way home from visits to the hospital than worried for my mother's wellbeing. So thanks for getting my mind off that, I suppose.
1987: By 1987 Dad was taking a lot of bike trips with me to the 7/11 or Rick's so I could buy comic books.
1988: When I beat Goonies II, Dad came down from bed to watch the big ending sequence . . . and I definitely beat it after 10 o'clock, so this was a very generous and caring act.
1989: I'm proud that my dad didn't hurl a log and then an axe at two of the scouts when we were at camp that summer. I'm just sayin'.
1990: Around this time I was really, really into Dungeons and Dragons. Once our hometeacher said "Isn't that for devil worshipers?" and my dad laughed at him in a very dismissive way. I really appreciated that.
1991: My Dad stayed home from work for a few days to rest and recover from an operation. It's the only staycation I ever remember him having and he really made the most of it, buying little cheap model airplanes and firing off those water-propelled rockets and stuff. It was great, I hadn't played so much with my dad since 1981.
1992: No one in my family seems to be able to remember exactly what year it was when my dad was a guest on the Jerry Springer show so I'm going to say it was in 1992 until someone remembers better.
1993: Mom makes me and dad come home from our only ever family vacation in Hawaii early . . . well, she doesn't "make" us, it was always the plan. To get everyone back, we drive out to Addison and go to Fuddruckers. I believe a lot of this driving may have been done by me, in his SHO, on the expressway. And epic afternoon.
1994: In, 1994, my dad took me to see Cabin Boy because we both thought it looked funny. How many sons can say that? AND in 1994 Dad plays a huge Christmas trick on me when he gives me my Powerbook after having fooled me into thinking I had just had the worst Christmas possible. I came inside from taking out the trash, about to announce that I was seceeding from the family and there it was, the most wonderful thing I ever would own. He even got a drawing/painting program for it.
1995: I got my dad a gas station worker's shirt with a "Randy" name tag sewn into it, he seemed awful tickled by it and would wear it to my swim meets.
1996: I appreciated dependable weekly letters from my dad while on my mission, this was before email, so a real effort was involved.
1997: My Dad always says he couldn't believe how old his dad looked when he came home from his mission, but I couldn't believe how young mine looked when I got back. It was like everyone was working out and resting up while I was gone!
1998: Dad tells me he thinks I should apply for London study abroad, which I didn't realize was even an option (I do it and it is the best).
1999: We all drove out to Utah that summer for vacation/heading back to school. Dad and I rode out in my car, he tried to teach me about opera by playing me some of his favorites and did a whole lot of the driving.
2000: A day or two after coming leaving school to be sick again Dad took me to see the opera of the Great Gatsby and it was a nice break from some heavy times.
2001: Here's an absolute favorite--I was in the hospital for a long, miserable time and would take really long showers in the evening, I'd just sit on my shower bench and soak and it felt so good but the shower was mechanically prevented from getting too hot so one day Dad snuck in some wrenches and stuff and we tried to "fix" (break) the shower so it could get real hot. Didn't fully succeed, but it was a real great Father/Son activity
2002: I believe it was 2002 that I started getting my Dad James Joyce books for his birthday and he actually read them and had plenty to say about them. I enjoyed my dad's active participation in my English Degree, at times it seemed he was reading more of my syllabus than I was.
2003: Dad gets me my Grumpy Sweatshirt for Christmas. He was so excited, I could hear him showing it off in the kitchen the day before but didn't know what it was.
2004: Dad took me to the Met for the first time on my birthday. Later that year he'd take me to see Tales of Hoffman, the first opera that I definitely liked from start to finish.
2005: This is the year I became so proud of my dad for finally buying himself a real Doctor's car, a car my mom was, in her own words, "hysterically opposed" to him buying.
2006: Now here's a great memory: Our fist dinner at Peter Luger's with Mom and Owen, too.
2007: Dad brings Grandma with him to New York for a visit, one of the most daring things I've ever seen him do. It was a great adventure and we even got to go to the rotating restaurant on top of the Marriott Marquis for ginger ales after we saw the Drowsy Chaperone.
2008: At Grandma's Surprise 80th Birthday Party Dad shows me his trick for remembering which side of the plate your drink goes on and which side the bread plate goes on.
2009: On November 2nd, 2009 I received my first text message from my father, bragging that he had just purchased an iPhone. I was so proud.
2010: I'll tell you next year! I've got high hopes for Columbus Day weekend!
All right, there's the list. Happy Birthday, Dad.