5/31/2010

Happy birthday, dad!

Sixty-nine years ago today, my father was born somewhere in Liverpool, England during the middle of World War II. His father was somewhere in Italy and his mother was left alone. He was an only child, though a sister would be born ten years later.


I wasn't able to go and see him and my mother today. Frankly, I'd sort of blanked out that Memorial Day and his birthday coincided this year. Instead, I took a day to work around the house and basically relax. It had been a long time since I'd had two days off in a row.


But, I was wrong not to try to go and see him. My dad is a very important person and perhaps the biggest influence on who I am today. I grew up idolizing him and wanting to be him. I think I've learned a lot of lessons about self-reliance and self-confidence from him.


He and my mother moved over to the United States when they were in their early 20's. They first moved to Canada, but went south because my dad was lured by the prospect of big roads and unlimited potential.


When I ask him, he tells me he left England because there was no opportunity for him there in the early 1960's. Even though the Beatles were rising to stardom, Liverpool was in the middle of a rapid decay. The shipping industry was changing fast, and my dad didn't think he was going to advance very far. He also thought his Scouse accent would hurt him if he were to move south like so many people were trying to do.


My uncle, for instance, had emigrated to Scotland. My dad wanted to follow suit and examined possibilities in Australia, New Zealand but my mother insisted she would only go as far as North America.


Almost five decades later, he's a confirmed American who has contributed much to society. At one point, he owned a factory that employed nearly two hundred people in Campbell County. I earned a lot of pocket money working for him beginning from the age of 12. On that birthday, he had taken a leap of faith and decided to go into business for himself.

He's a very inspirational man, and I've learned a lot from him. I will make sure I go and see him soon. I guess I sort of know that I'll be seeing a lot of him due to the World Cup in a few short weeks. I wish there was some way I could let him know how much I appreciate him and all he's done for me over the years. I owe so much to him. I wanted to write this to publicly thank him for everything. 

We don't always see eye to eye on everything, but I always respect his opinion even when I believe he's wrong. We debate a lot about politics, though my mother always tries to put a stop to that as soon as it starts.

He's a fantastic grandfather who my three idolize, as have my sister's two kids and my brother's three kids.


I do wish he could retire, though. I'd love for him to get the chance to channel all of his creative energy into something fun for him. He's a funny man, good with song, and always has an interesting story to tell. I'd love to interview him. I'd love to set him up with a blog. I'd love to make music with him. He's my dad and I'm part him and I guess I just wanted to say that, even if I wasn't with him today.

Now I have to make plans to see him as soon as I can. 

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