Today would have been my Dad’s 63rd birthday.
As you may remember, my father passed away back in July after a long battle with….. well, just about everything. When my sisters set out to make some photo boards to display at the funeral, I dug into my archives to see how many pictures I had of Dad to add to what they’d collected so far. While I enjoy taking pictures of animals and funny or odd inanimate objects, I’m not much of a people photographer… probably because I hate being photographed myself. I did find six that had my Dad in them… and that’s not counting this one that came from the family collection that I must have scanned at some point for a post here.
Since I never did a proper tribute to Pop on my blog, I thought I’d share the six pictures I had in my online albums of him along with a story or anecdote related to each picture. Some of these are reruns, and a couple I’m uploading for the first time…
You’ve seen this one before. It isn’t just my favorite picture I took of the old man, it’s one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken. Dad was never afraid to be a ham in front of the camera. The money was his repaying of a loan I’d sometimes have to give to him and my Mom. If there’s one thing my parents never had to worry about, it was that their children might try to off them before their time for the inheritance… because there’s nothing to be willed to us but the memories. The money is all in singles because I often got my own money that way at the time due to my Where’s George hobby that was much stronger then than it is now. Dad had separated the bills into piles from each of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks… that A through L you see on your American money. That’s not how you separate bills to enter into WG, but oh well…. at least it made for a great photo.
This photo was actually taken by my youngest sister, but the pictures were all sent to me so they only reside in my archive. That’s Dad trying to corral my two little rascals Ody and Spilly one day after I’d brought them home eight years ago. What in the hell ever happened to that cute little kitten with the white paws, and who replaced him with a beached whale? Dad was always happy to meet my cats when he was at my house, and much to my annoyance would always refer to them as his grandbabies. Watch out for those ever present claws Spilly never seemed willing to retract!
My Dad, an animal lover? I’d honestly never thought of him that way, but there you go. This is one of the three wiener dog mongrels my Mom allows to run wild through the house these days… I think that’s the middle one Jake. Before that trio of terror, my Mom had a single dachshund Dante, who I “lovingly” nicknamed Beast… which also morphed into my original internet handle that those of you who’ve emailed me before are familiar with. That damned devil dog lived for 16 and a half years… all but his last five while I was still living at home. Me and Dad loved to “torment” the Beast, but he sure seemed to enjoy the attention…
This picture was taken at one of the baseball games we’d made a yearly habit out of traveling to Kansas City to attend. From 2002 to 2014, we managed to hit at least one game every season… usually staying overnight to catch two. One thing me and Dad had in common was our refusal to be assimilated into the smartphone culture… though Dad also never got into the whole internet thing. I think my sister set him up with an email account once, but I don’t know if he ever used it. About the only thing he could do on the computer was play games… he knew where the games were.
My Mom had this photo framed and it might still be on top of the TV stand for all I know. Dad wanted his picture taken in front of the statue of Royals legend George Brett along the outfield concourse at Kauffman Stadium. This will always remind me of one of our signature baseball “arguments” we used to have. Dad always swore up and down that George Brett was the last Major League player to hit .400 in a season, finishing 1980 with a .403 average. I told him he was full of crap, and Brett only hit .390. It was a lot harder to prove I was right back in those days before you could look anything up online, but even once he knew he was wrong, that didn’t stop the “argument” from recurring every time Brett’s name came up. We had a lot of other recurring nonsense baseball quibbles, but that one was our collective favorite…
My old man wasn’t always an old man. This is Dad only a couple of years older than I am now, lounging on the fine, quality, piece of shit furnishing we had in our hotel in New York during my Millionaire taping trip. Note “The World’s Coolest Papa” T-shirt… the family relation world championship shirts were pretty trendy around the turn of the millennium. As those who recall the extreme detail I was able to regurgitate during my retelling of this trip on my blog three years ago, this was one of the more memorable times in my life, and I’m glad Dad was along to share in the highs, lows, and absolute nuttiness that were provided courtesy of Regis Philbin and staff. And Dad even got to be a small, anonymous part of one of the more infamous moments in game show history.
Happy birthday, Dad!
Beautiful writing. Pictures are important in more way than people think. You don’t take them for yourself — you take them so that at times like these, other people have your pictures. When people love you, they love even the dowdiest picture of you.
I’m sorry you lost your father so early. I lost my mother early, too and my brother MUCH earlier … and I still miss them. You really only get to know them in adulthood and that time was much too short. Happy birthday to your dad from us, too.
Thank you. And you are right, which almost makes me feel guilty for hiding from the camera so much. Almost…
Happy birthday to your Dad. It feels nice to do something to honor or remember your Dad more on his birthday. Thank you for the post. It was very moving to me thinking about my Mom. Great pics too! I don’t know which I like best….probably the kitten pic with the money being second. Looks like you had a wonderful Dad.
Thank you, and I did! I’ve heard enough unfavorable stories about people’s dads or absentee dads to appreciate what I had in him…
This is a beautiful tribute for your dad.
Happy Birthday to your dad… I cried while reading, but you found the best words to honor a fabulous man. …are that hair rollers in the first photo?
They’re those plastic clip on barrettes that were popular in the 80’s! My sisters obviously had a lot more than they needed…
maybe your dad set a new trend this way… in the 80’s anything was possible ;o)
I’m sure he would have made Milli Vanilli jealous….
That was a really nice tribute. 🙂 Happy Birthday, Bill’s Dad! I’m sure he’s smiling now.
Yes! And wanting to argue just a little more baseball with me….
Aw. Happy birthday to your dad, ES. ❤
Great photos and a lovely tribute.
Those really are great photos and fun memories – that’s why I just LOVE photos and don’t think it possible to “take too many pix”……it’s times like these, when all you have left are photos and memories that you realize each one was a “time capsule” that you can open up whenever you want to. So sorry you lost your Dad so young……my Mom was in her 80s and my Dad in his upper 70s but no matter what – it’s tough losing them. Would a hug help? I’m sending one……….
Thank you for the words and hug!
Happy Birthday to your Dad. You’ve got some pretty cool pictures to remember and celebrate him with. That pic of him decked out in barrettes is especially epic. 😊
It is one of those things you have to put up with when you have so many girls. Or in my case, so many sisters! No, I never let them put barrettes in my hair, but I’m sure they wanted to!
Thanks for the tribute to your father today.it made cry more than I was already crying before I read it.
Love you, Mom!
Love you too son.
Bill; happy birthday to your dad; ya know he loved this post. we hope he’s celebrating with all the greats of baseball fame. thanx for sharing the photos and your memories; they are by far, worth more than a fortune in gold ~~~~~~ ♥♥
What a lovely and loving tribute! You never have your parents around long enough – I’d love to have another day, another week.
Yeah, it sucks… but I know a lot of people who had their fathers around for even less time, so I’m grateful for the time I had.
What a nice tribute to your Dad, Bill. I love your comment, “nothing to be willed to us but the memories”. That’s all I plan to leave my boys. (That’s all my parents left me.) I guess it’s a family tradition. I didn’t know you were a contestant on WWTBAM. Your post about the hotel room in NYC was hysterical.
It would save a whole lot of fighting over the will if all there were was memories to leave behind!
You must have missed my big presentation of my Millionaire story back in 2014. It may be the magnum opus of my blog, and maybe the closest I’ll ever get to writing a novel…
An excellent tribute.
What a lovely birthday wish and tribute. Your pops sounded like one very special fella.
He was, at least to all of us!
A lovely tribute. Happy birthday to your dad.
Happy B Day Pappa ES ! very nice tribute to your dad! You were very lucky to have such a wonderful relationship with him, not everyone is so lucky! 🙂
I realize that, and feel very fortunate. Thanks!