Yesterday was my dad’s 81st birthday. I gushed about him all over Facebook and folks were so sweet to share their admiration. It made me all mushy and weepy inside. Even Daniel Craig played second fiddle to him yesterday.
We went out for dinner to the same fancy place Owen and I have had high tea at. It’s the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle and they have this beautiful dining room called The Georgian room. Owen feels like he’s in Hogwarts when we come to this place.
It does kind of play into our Anglo hearts. They have a Jaguar car parked in front of their valet that they use for their guests AND they have an Omega watch store adjacent to their lobby with Daniel Craig’s poster hanging in the window. It really is a win-win situation.
I’m grateful for my dad because he is loving, tidy, respectful, and funny.
My dad didn’t fit the mold of the sappy dad in Father of the Bride, or Ward Cleaver, or Charles Ingalls even. In fact, I would say that he has become softer since becoming a grandfather. I mentioned in last year’s post dedicated to my dad’s birthday, Ode to My Dad, that he would sometimes yell things like ‘bloody hell’, or get cross with me over tracking mud in the house. He came off as brusk to my friends. But honestly, he is the most warm-hearted, no judgement fellow you could meet.
He wears his Church’s shoes from 30 years ago. They look brand new because he polishes them regularly. He has a sport coat from 20 years ago, a watch from 50 years ago. He takes very good care of his things. He never had much as a boy, so he knows to be grateful for something in case he won’t get another one again.
Heck, we live in a disposable society where we know we can just go buy something new if we change our minds. Not my dad. He doesn’t feel the need to have ‘things’ around. It’s me and my mom that shop for shirts, sweater vests and ties any chance we get. He tells us, no more shirts please. But then, for Father’s Day, I’ll find the perfect plaid Faconnable shirt at Nordstrom, and get it for him. And then he puts it on and looks like he could go hunting with Prince Phillip and I smile with pride. Then he gets a twinkle in his eye and knows he looks pretty good, so he keeps the shirt anyway.
When I was a little girl, heck, when I was in college even, if I had a bad day, he would sit me on his lap and wipe my tears with his handkerchief. There’s a soft handkerchief in his pocket at all times. So much has this habit made an impression, that when Owen has a cold, he has his own collection of cotton handkerchiefs to keep in his pocket. Owen admires his grandfather, who we call Odaddy for short, very much. He prides his British heritage, he has a pocket comb and handkerchief just like his Odaddy, and he takes great interest in the car my dad is rebuilding.
For more than 10 years my dad has been rebuilding a super fancy, vintage 1960s E-type Jaguar. I’m horrible for not remembering exactly what kind, but it’s from the 60s, they are very rare, and it’s a coupe. In it’s day, it was, The Shit. With a limited budget, and aging hands and a tired worn out back, he has rebuilt every square inch with the most immaculate attention to detail. It was just a metal shell when he first got it.
My dream is that some fancy uber rich, car collector will pay him thousands of dollars for it and take it off his hands. That is the ultimate goal. He can’t afford to keep it or drive it. But someone out there will cherish the craftsmanship he has put into it, and give him what he deserves for it.
So back to dinner and his birthday. I know that things don’t last forever. I know that getting in your 80s is reaching a place in your life where you don’t know how many years there might be more of on this earth. 5? 20? The latter I hope. He’s healthy, fit and takes good care of himself. And of course, my mom takes good care of him too.
I always get so sappy and teary writing about him. I know not everyone has a perfect father. Or even a father figure in their life to look up to that they can count on. But I am so very grateful for mine. And for my children to have that in their grandfather, I am even more grateful.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.