Thursday, May 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy

Ever since my dad ate chocolate chips for Thanksgiving Dinner the night I was born, I've been his favorite daughter. Just kidding, Amy and Cami. But seriously, my dad is great. He's the busiest man I know and spends his weeks living in a FEMA trailer on the Gulf Coast saving the world, one house at a time. He's doing some pretty important stuff and we're all really proud of him. I think our level of pride reached an all time high when he got to have lunch with the president of the United States in an undisclosed location. That's my dad against the wall in the white shirt and tie.

My dad is a great cook. He can make amazing food out of just about anything. I was his Thanksgiving Dinner cooking assistant. We'd make our really long shopping list and head off to the grocery store, silly walking all the way. Once home, we'd start the huge production of cooking the three different types of dressing and trying to make the meal more impressive than the last. I'd chop and peel and stir and watch in awe while the magic happened. I know all these sweet memories are why I love cooking so much now. It was always something my dad and I had in common so it still holds a special place in my heart.

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.


Amy said...

The Dauphin Island savage photo is also by far my favorite picture of him. It always makes me smile.

Alia said...

Happy Birthday, Katie's Dad! :)

Ammon said...

aww, i always forget how insanely adorable stellar was.

Also, i'd always thought he made me that alligator...

Kate said...

hmmm...Maybe he did make it for you and I just wished it was for me so stole it.