Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time. ~Jean Paul Richter
My Dad turns 89 today. Those 89 years have been productive, caring, loving and wonderful years for both my Dad and our family.
I reflect back and think of what a wonderful life our family has had because of my Dad and Mom. In June of 2011, I wrote a post about how much my Dad meant to our family titled Father’s Day – A Few Good Men. It has never escaped me as to how fortunate that we were to have my Dad choose our family to love and to call his own.
My Dad has lived an ordinary life but is a remarkable man in my mind. He was Valedictorian of his class of 1941. You can read his Valedictorian Speech and his thoughts on how the message within his speech does not seem all that far out-of-date 68 years later in a post he wrote for Imperfect Women back in 2009.
After high school, my Dad farmed and worked several jobs finally settling in with a wonderful family oriented company called Pride Seed Corn Company. It was a great company to work for but it was the farming industry and with that came many long 16 hour days in the spring, summer and fall months. The long work hours and father responsibilities kept my Dad busy but he was always striving to broaden his horizons and learn new things.
In the early 60s, Dad subscribed to a mail order painting class and basically taught himself to paint. He painted signs for local businesses or advertising on the sides of vehicles in his spare time for extra money but he also painted beautiful pictures. All of his children proudly display his paintings in their homes. They are treasures for sure. At the age of 40, he also took organ lessons right along side of his kids and learned to play the organ with great flair and energy.
My Dad loved to read and he also loved to write poetry. He reinvented himself when he retired in his 60s and became a published author and wrote a weekly column called Rhyme and Reason for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. He wrote this column for over 20 years until a medical condition forced him into yet another retirement. Dad has also been a long-time member of both the Dubuque Area Writers’ Guild and the Southwest Wisconsin Writer’s Club. Collections of his poems have been published in a variety of magazines and books throughout the tri-state area.
A pretty remarkable man in my eyes and the eyes of my family and extended family. As our Dad, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather, he has always made the effort to guide us and share with us so many life lessons. I have learned more from my Dad (and Mom) than I ever did in all of my years of education. They have held our family together in times of tragedy and sadness and lead us back to happier times filled with laughter and good memories. I am so proud to be their daughter and feel so blessed to have both of my parents still with us.
We don’t say “I love you” as much as we should in our family. It is silently conveyed through our actions. However, as we become so aware of how the years are piling on, we are learning to say it often and loudly (my Dad has a bit of a hearing issue).
So I would love to say it here on this post – I love you Dad and Mom. Dad, I hope you have a great Birthday today and stay warm. Enjoy your day and have lots of cake! Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake!
Pam Buttikofer is a co-founder of Imperfect Women.