Today is my dad's birthday. I have known him for my 24 years on this planet and would loved to have known him the years before that too. Let me tell you a little bit about him.
My dad is one of the most helpful people I know. If you're stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, my dad will be the one to stop to help you change it. If you're his neighbor, he's been to your house multiple times to help you fix your car, work in your yard, or just tell you about some new product that will cure whatever you told him is ailing you. If he thinks you need something he will acquire it for you, whether you really need it or not. My dad has stolen multiple of my friends' cars only to return them with a full gas tank. He has stepped up to make sure multiple young men participate in Scouting and has helped a few get their Eagle Scout award. Whether you ask for his help or not, my dad is there and willing to lend both hands.
My dad has had his own horse, has been on a cattle drive, and started driving the tractor on the family farm when he was eight years old. He, his parents, and his siblings have lived on only $1000 for a whole year. My dad had his left hand hit with a ruler by his teacher so he would learn to write with his right hand (yes, even in the late 1950s his small town teacher thought it would help). My dad got sprayed by a skunk in a ditch while throwing rotten tomatoes at cars. He wanted to be a race car driver and once had to fix a car overnight after messing it up in a street race (if I remember correctly).
My dad lost a high school girlfriend to a drunk driver. He lost his brother to a farming accident. And he lost multiple friends and acquaintances to the Vietnam war. He lost my younger sister when she was only a baby. He also lost his parents in very old age. With each death I think a little of him was lost too.
My dad has sold shoes, has built cars on an assembly line, and has eaten squirrel. He assisted at the Indy 500 while on his LDS mission. My dad took a motorcycle road trip to Mexico which I only heard about because I was going on a date with a guy on a motorcycle. My dad was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science.
My dad got married and had 4 children. He worked over 25 years at a job he disliked to support us. He taught me how to fix my car (and in the process a few curse words) and how to take responsibility for what I own. He taught me to work hard and stick with things even when they're hard. He taught me to save money and only buy what I need. My dad has helped me become who I am, the quirky eclectic me.
My dad has lived 62 full years of life and I wish him the happiest birthday in the world! I love you Dad.