Happy Birthday, Dad
Yesterday was a pretty perfect day that embodied all that my dad loved about life. We began the day slowly and then meandered into the “sport” for the day: badminton played whole heartedly and foolishly – dad style. We were there to play but also to giggle and to make fun of ourselves and our opponents.
The badminton games overlapped with the beginning of the party. In true dad form, we didn’t run around stressing ourselves out before guests arrived, we didn’t primp and prim ourselves; we relaxed, we played and we waited for our guests to join us in the festivities.
And what guests they were; we put together a list of my dad’s favorites. The people who he grew from a boy to a man with but always made sure they remained boys at heart. They were my dad’s best friends from college and their children and their children’s children. The USFers.
The USFers are a privileged group of people. A group that can’t hit a note for the life of them but will die singing. A group that makes fun of each other just about as much as they make fun of themselves. A group that comes early and stays late for a party. A group that respects a good-bye and lets it linger well after the sun has gone down. A group that may moan about an “all down hill hike” but ends up rolling down the hill in fits of laughter. A group that hugs. A group that sees each other and lights up. A group that feels like family.
So many of these wondrous, spectacular elements of the USFers are thanks to my dad and the yearly reunions he would throw with his college friends and families at our ranch. Dad had such charm that he could rally up his troops with a simple phone call; no one ever missed a weekend at Camp Cirrhosis. We sat around the camp fire singing songs, telling stories and acting out jokes until the wee hours of the night. We hiked long, at times steep, hikes to reach breathtaking vistas and jump down shale fields with childlike joy. We ate at one giant picnic table amongst the redwood trees letting the wine flow and the memories take over. Dad, ever leading the charge.
Today, my dad would have turned 70. It had been six years since we had a USFers reunion and six years since he passed away. The past few months, I felt in my soul dad was looking down begging for a USF party. I knew it was up to me to get the invite around, up to my dad to provide the good weather and up to everyone to bring back that old USF charm.
It was everything dad wanted it to be. A beautiful day with beautiful people catching up and reminiscing. And at the end of the day, always singing as we do, we joined in one last song – Happy Birthday.
Dad, thanks for teaching us what true, long lasting, deep, deep friendships are all about. We love and we miss you every day. Happiest of birthdays!!
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