I have always been amazed about how much my dad knows about everything. When we were little, he used to do "lessons" with us in the summer. We'd wake up early in the morning for our lessons where he'd teach us about all sorts of things. The one we all remember best is when he baked three batches of cookies for a visual aid of the three types of rocks. I don't think they were that great tasting, but they did look like rocks and we'll never forget it.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad. It always makes me laugh because it makes me think about our first trip to Dauphin Island. We have gone back many times, but I think the first time we were there was the most memorable. We arrived late and the sun was quickly going down. We wanted to see the beach before it got dark, so we set off into the woods on the trail to the beach. By the time we left the beach, it was pretty dark, but we still took the “scenic” trail back to our camp site. Dauphin Island is a strange mix of woods, beaches and swamps all mixed together on one island in a way that is only possible in the South. There were signs around that read “Beware of Alligators” so as we walked I became convinced that every big stick or root I saw was an alligator. Luckily, we did eventually make it back to the camp in one piece. Later in the trip, my dad whittled me an alligator out of a stick he found. He sat outside and whittled away, with his back leaned against the side of the tent. My little brother was pretty young at the time, and he was sitting inside the tent leaning his back against my dad’s back. He wanted to play Rock Paper Scissors with my dad through the tent. Since they couldn't see each other through the tent, my dad told Ammon to tell him what he had and then my dad would say what he had. Ammon was amazed that my dad won every time! He was convinced that my dad was just really good at it, but little did he know my dad wasn't even playing, he was just saying whatever would beat Ammon.
I have so many funny memories of my dad over the years, way too many to write about. He is a great dad and always has a way of making things fun. Today he turns 50 and I wish we could all be there to celebrate with him. And if all this didn't tug your heart strings enough, here are pictures of who we all knew was really his favorite:
Happy Birthday Daddy. I love you and hope you have a great day.