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My dad's birthday

I'm sitting at McNuggets with the 2 younger boys having their fill of future artery blockers. Tio is at the scooter park and I have a large iced coffee to keep me warm. We're out for the afternoon with the top down on the Jeep, eating junk, shopping, scootering and headed for ice cream before the day is out. Just how summer days are supposed to be. 

It's my dad's birthday today. On his birthday we always had a barbecue and strawberry shortcake. He'd be 83 if he'd survived cancer 25 years ago. I don't recall Saturday afternoons hanging out with him. Before I turned ten I remember the family taking weekend trips to Grandma's house a hundred miles from home. He'd buy donuts and take us to the Dairy Dip and wouldn't get angry when things got messy. I remember getting stung by a bee on my eyelid and climbing on the roof and taking long bike rides with my brother to our cousin's house. I guess it was as laid back as Dad ever got. All these years later, I wish I'd gotten to know my father better when I was a kid. His aloofness was hard for me because I was shy too and so we never had much to say when it was just him and me. Not like these boys who never know how to be quiet even when they're told to shut up and have treated me like their favorite toy more often than not.

I suppose, in the final analysis, if I were one of my grandsons looking back from adulthood to my childhood with Grampy, I'd rather have had the loud, friendly and sometimes blustery relationship. But as the adult in the mix, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a house full of kids that keep themselves busy. 

I guess we better pick up fixins for strawberry shortcake. Happy birthday Dad.