I've been pretty tired this week and feeling a little crappy, so I was going to skip this week's Quick Takes. And then I got an inspiration. So here it is! Hope you enjoy!
Today is my father's birthday! Happy Birthday, Daddy!! He has always been special to me and a real role model in my life. Here are six reasons why.
I am the oldest child of four. On more than one occasion I remember my mother reminiscing about when I was little, and probably barely walking, when we still lived just outside of Boston, she could look out the window and see me and my daddy taking a walk. She said I always liked spending time with him and sometimes she would be jealous of that. (As an aside: I love my mother too, and she got over the jealousy when my sister was born! That's a story for another time!!) My point, I always liked that image my mother created in my mind of the bond my father and I had early on. Obviously I was too young to remember those moments, but I'm grateful for the image I was given of them.
Playing games with my dad! We weren't much of a board game kind of family. We did have plenty and did play them on occasion, but I remember playing cards more often then board games. (Personally, board games get boring for me.) Daddy taught us to play hearts, gin, gin rummy, cribbage, poker, and many others. Card games are games you could play and still (generally) have a conversation (at least in my family you could, but then again, we can carry on a conversation no matter what we were doing). Plus, I think he liked to involve math skills whenever he could (cribbage, anyone?). And even if you're weren't playing in the game, you could still participate in the conversation or help out a younger sibling who was just learning. I loved card games in my family!
Speaking of math, I was pretty good at most math skills, though a little slower at quick addition and such than my dad. But he taught me a neat trick that I have never forgotten and plan on teaching my kids one day as well. It had to due with multiplying by 11. It's easy with the one-digit numbers, I think everyone catches on pretty quickly that 11 x 2 is 22 or 11 x 5 is 55, etc. It was the higher numbers that he taught me about. For example 11 x 34 is 374. The trick? Add the numbers together, put the result in the middle of the original number. It gets trickier when the two numbers add up to higher than 10, but it can still be done: 11 x 76 is 836, can you see it? I played around with higher and higher numbers and always was able to figure out the trick. Is this a useful skill? Maybe. I guess it depends on what you do with it.
And speaking of games, my dad used to travel a lot. When we lived in New York he worked in an international department in IBM (we almost moved to France when I was in first grade!) and traveled a lot. Even when he was promoted and we moved to Atlanta he still traveled quite a bit. Plus, when he was in town there was the commute to get to the office near the city and home again. He would often come home from work with a scrap piece of paper that he had written some license plate message on for us to figure out. Some are kind of tricky! It was always fun. I still look at license plates regularly hoping to spot one that needs some figuring out. And then there were the games he'd bring home from a business trip, and by games I mean some puzzle or word game from the magazine in the airplane. They were always kind of interesting things that made you think.
Anyone remember the IBM motto from the 80s (maybe earlier, but my memory doesn't go back that far). Anyone? I do. My father used to tell us it every morning when we left for school. Think! That was it, plain and simple: Think. I don't know why, but I will always remember that.
Finally, I have so much respect for all the service-type things my dad did. It's something he did that taught us kids tons through nothing but example! He was involved for several years with the Special Olympics as a volunteer (he ran the gymnastics competition, literally: he had the schedule, told other volunteers where to be, gave out awards, etc.). He chaperoned band camp, ran the band's biggest fundraiser (a concession stand at the Braves' stadium, which later became a concession stand at the GA Dome), he helped with band and color guard equipment, he sold Christmas trees at church with my brother and the other altar servers, and he did many other things. As a result I've always felt called to help when given an opportunity. My heart-strings are easily pulled by those in need and I like serving others. I've even thought about getting involved in the Special Olympics in my area. One day, I have a good example to follow!
Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you!!