Monday, December 5, 2011

Why are Birthday Candles so Small?

There is something sweet about the tip of a hat, such that the phrase is common, while hats (that can be tipped) are not so much.

I had to smile when "That 70s Show" (tv sitcom) had Red (the dad) on an episode the other night, with his hat on, going to dinner with his wife. It's one of the only sitcoms I watch, and my favorite character is this Dad - he's less contrived than Archie Bunker, but cut from the same cloth. It could just be that Archie was more like my grandparents, and Red is more like my Dad.

Speaking of Dads, my biological father had a birthday yesterday. I mean, he's dead, but it's still a birth day, isn't it? I got sad this morning when I realized I may be the only one on the planet who remembered it today. (Yeah, ok, a day late.)  It had been nagging in the back of my mind... early Dec... I wasn't close to him for most of my life, so it's a tough one to recall. Heck, birthdays of best friends and dear family are elusive (the 17th or the 19th? or was it the 21st? It was an odd day...)

It's weird how some thoughts have come to me only as a result of age. For instance about 10 or 15 years ago, I realized that there were fewer people on the planet who had held me as a baby. My dad died, my grandparents had mostly gone. Slowly they were leaving. I have one grandparent left. My Mom :D and two sweet aunts who were probably all about holding me. It's cool to know someone who has known me that long.

But today it was a sad surprise to think that maybe no one else remembered my Dad's birthday. His mom died about 7 months before he did, in 1998. And his step dad, my sweet surviving grandparent, maybe isn't good at those kind of dates. Would he remember?

My uncle might remember, but I don't know how good he is for birthdays either, even for his brother. My aunt, his wife, may have remembered. It gives me an excuse to call her. I think my Dad was born in 1940, so he would have been 71 today if he had lived.  Wow - that would have been something. Hard to imagine him old since he died pretty young. 57.

Seemed old-ish then. Pretty young, now.

He was crazy smart. Like really. Crazy. and Smart. We think he was bipolar, which explains both, sort of. I love that he was a damn good writer and an award winning journalist. I think of him when I see college football marching bands - he was the drum major for the university of florida, one of his proudest achievements.

And he bought me my first horse when I was about 7 or 8. A beautiful quarter horse, Mr. Skip. One day I'll have a horse again. I'll remember who first taught me to ride.

He loved to tell stories and jokes. He gave a lot of compassion to people - so I was told after his death.

Jews have a tradition of lighting a candle each year on the anniversary of someone's death. We remember our dead on certain holidays too (Yom Kippur, etc - see this link for more info). It's said that as long as someone remembers you, you live on in the world. For the first time, I think I'll be making a donation in my Dad's honor. And I'll be lighting a candle :) For his birthday. Sucks that they are so small. Burn out quick.

May his memory be for a blessing.  Maybe, at last, he rests in peace.

No comments: