My dad was 53 yesterday... 53? Yes, I think that's the number.
My dad is a giant among men... and not just physically, though it certainly works that way as well. He is a man who thrives on discovery--to cease learning is to cease existing. He is a self-made man, who can build houses, fix cars, make up last-minute science projects that always win, do the world's taxes, and build his own telescope. He is a man who contemplates the stars in moments of quiet wonder, easily merging the seemingly separate worlds of spirit and science; for him, there is no separation--one confirms the other, and on and on. He has a merry disposition and a sharp wit, which he has passed on to his boys (along with the way he scratches his head--like mirror images!). He is an adventurer--camping, hiking, cruising, exploring.... and every road trip of my youth was marked with frequent sidetracks to fish hatcheries, museums, mines, ghost towns, etc. It made the "road" part of the trip much longer, but some of those sidetrack memories are dearest to me. My dad is a man who chose to work at home so he could "be his own boss," though all the kids know it was really to play with us. :) He is a man of testimony, who can take unemployment, kids with broken backs (and arms and ankles, etc), years-long battles with cancer, the passing of a priceless eternal companion, the melding of a new family (along with all its new quirks), and everything else with unshaken faith because he knows God lives and has a plan. He is a man that taught his children to look to Christ for healing, for strength, because it is only in Christ that peace comes in this life (sorry to anyone who thinks otherwise... I love you. Think again). He is a man that smiles easily; who is always ready to put in shelves, figure out a math problem, or play frisbee with his kids. Is he a perfect man? No, not at all; and he'll be the first to tell you so. But he was--he is--the perfect father for me. Happy Birthday, Pops! I love you!