Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my father's 77th birthday.

Dad grew up in Southwestern Oklahoma during the Dustbowl and Depression on a dryland farm in a family of 7 kids. After the untimely death of his father in 1943, those 7 kids were raised by their mother.

Dad became an expert shot with a rifle as he was growing up. Wild game was an important part of their diet and often the only meat on the table. My uncle once told of watching my father run along behind a covey of quail that was running down a fence line. As he ran, he would shoot the last bird in the line with a single-shot .22 rifle. He shot nearly the entire covey before stopping. His comment was that ammunition was scarce and every shot had to count.

Of the 7 kids, all but 2 received a college education. They did so through their own perseverance and initiative. Five of them, including my father, pursued careers in education. At one point in my own education I was required to interview my father about why he chose the career that he did. His response was that in Southwestern Oklahoma during his early years, teaching was one of the most respected and secure careers. I suspect that it was his calling because many times through the years I have heard people comment about how my father made a positive influence in their life through his role as an educator/school administrator.

Dad always made time for us as we were growing up -- and still does today. He played catch, took us hunting, fishing and camping. He taught us to work. And he does the same for his grandchildren now. He always made time to attend anything that we participated in -- and does the same for his grandchildren.

He and my mother have been married over 50 years and have lived in the same town all of that time. They will be moving in the next few weeks to the town in which I live. My mother has never lived anywhere else. They want to be close to their kids and grandkids.

Happy Birthday Dad!


Sandy Kessler said...

Sounds a fine man to emulate and will your kids say these things in several decades...??Somehow i think so

Ranando said...

Sounds like a great father, one who cares.

I wish him a great 77th and many more.

PP, tell him how much he means to you everyday.

CDO said...

Willy says Happy Birthday!

10-4 Willy

Janie said...

Thanks for honoring your father. It blessed me.

Sue said...

php, nice tribute. My husband's birthday is the same day (1/23), but many years later!