Ok, so today was my birthday. Tomorrow was my dad's birthday and we always managed to celebrate either on mine or his with a caramel cake. Mom was the maker of the cake, complete with pecans on top! It really hits now, when I have mine and I know that Dad is not there to celebrate with on the next day. He always seemed to like it. He never made much of a fuss over it, but I could tell from his grin...he was happy.
Later in his life he developed diabetes and then Parkinson's disease. The diabetes meant he shouldn't eat sweets so he grudgingly switched from regular Coke to Diet Coke and from sugar to Splenda. But on his birthday, he was gonna get some of that cake! Mom didn't like it but doggone it once a year surely ain't gonna hurt him! He needed absolutely nothing in the way of gifts, so it was hard to buy for him. He was always thankful for what he got! Later, while unloading the basement before a move, we found drawers full of unused pjs, shirts, socks, underwear....we could have opened a store! My Dad like his old stuff....he had brand new shoes down there too, but he wore the same shirts, pants, coats and shoes until they fell apart.
My father had a very weird sense of humor. Do you remember Jonathan Winters? Kinda odd funny? That was my dad. He would be sitting at the table and he would just go into this weird, soundless laugh, mouth open and looking kinda usually calmed down. He did get really upset when I did something like break my aunts boyfriends glasses - snap, snap- or threw a tonka truck and decked a kid right between the yes, requiring stitches. Those were the things you ran and hid from!
As my dad got older, and especially whe the Parkinson's got worse, he mellowed quite a bit. He spent many a day in his favorite recliner, doing crossword puzzles, reading the paper and carefully clipping some article he thought I should read. I loved to stop by and sit at the supper table and talk to my dad. He didn't have much time when he worked, but these days things were unhurried!
He loved to go outside and walk the dog, look at the flowers and feed the birds. That's about the only exercise he got in his later years, but it seemed enough. When we moved next door he would walk up the hill and have tea! That was very rare and a treat!
When his Parkinson's got really bad he ended up in bed. He didn't like it and he tried to get out. His brain was affected and at times he thought he was still working with registered mail at the post office! This took some role playing and pretend calling to his boss to tell hi he was retired and 'not to send any more mail for sorting'. Also sometimes he thought he was in the war again. This was bad.
I wasn't happy about the way things ended for my dad - the Parkinson's taking its tole on his body and mind. I know he felt like he could have treated us all better, been there more for us because he told me. I sure do miss him. Happy birthday daddy!