You would love my dad. Everyone does. He is, quite frankly, the easiest person to get along with on the planet. If you are at a dinner party you will want him to sit by you. Much like his dad, he can talk to anyone, tell a really good joke, and, from what I can tell, really enjoys the art of conversation.
Car dealers should fear him. Negotiating car deals, be it one or a fleet of seven for the family, is a sport to him. The guy across the desk is no match as he is the guy who could sell ice to Eskimos and at the end of the discussion they will be friends. It is the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen in business.
I’ve learned about the finer things in life from him. From an early age I tasted every wine he brought home or collected. I can tell you why Lladro glows incandescently, the history of certain fine motorcars, the intricacies of Versailles and don’t get me started on certain jewelers. He, like his dad, loves to shop and loves to gift. And let me make this perfectly clear right now – he is very, very good at it.
But there are the other fine things he taught me as well. He showed me what it meant to be utterly devoted to your family. If someone was hurt by life, he was ready to rally. As an adult it was not often I’d come to him with wounds, but when I did he was a champion. Unconditionally.
My dad does a lot. He runs a business that supports many people in our family. He watches out for my mom and her health and happiness. He was a lone warrior in Little Rock for a year. I cannot imagine the strength it took to do that. He watches out for his mother – a widow now for almost 14 years and aging herself. He wants the best for everyone he knows and loves. It’s just how he’s wired.
I’ve seen him laugh more times than I can count, but only cry once – at the funeral of his dad. I’ve seen him angry at life, beaming with pride, fascinated with his grandchildren and roll his eyes at the absurd.
My dad knows me. He knows what I’m good at and what I am not. I may not like what he has to say some of the time, but I rarely can argue whether or not it’s true. The best part is he loves me anyway. The next best part is that I can say the same about him.
My dad likes moments. Experiences are a close second. I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of a few and they are some of my fondest memories.
My dad is the man by which all others in my life are measured. He was the first man to love me and I was the second love of his life. I’m happy to share that category with my mom.
Happy birthday, Dad. I hope this year brings you everything wonderful – no one deserves it more than you.