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!