We each shared a memory about Dad. They were pretty much what you'd expect -- great hiking adventures, dramatic skiing incidents, old groaner jokes, and lots of laughter. We touched on a few of the helpful tasks Dad has done for innumerable people -- appliance repairs, floor patches, plumbing projects, etc. He's the stereotypical if-you-need-help-call-Dad kind of dad.
Knute and I drove a u-haul here on Sunday to help a friend who's moving to Berkeley this week to attend seminary. Monday, I prepared to drive it into Berkeley with hopes that a friend of hers would be on hand to unload. When I asked Dad about his plans for the day, he replied that he thought he was unloading a u-haul. He just assumes, if there's work to be done, he's included in the solution. What a marvelous assumption. We did have help when we got to the apartment. It was still a heavy project. Dad, 2 days shy of 85, was right in there with the two young men, carrying at least a fair share, if not more -- certainly more than I managed.
I gave him a funny birthday card about things he taught me, such as money doesn't grow on trees, I wasn't raised in a barn, etc. But the really important things weren't mentioned. The natural reaction of helping when a need arises -- anybody's need -- isn't something you can teach from a book. We learn by example. I was blessed with really amazing examples in my parents.
I wish my dad a very happy, rich, fulfilling year of being 85, knowing that he'll enjoy the satisfaction of doing good things for any number of people, will share his talents and his garden produce, his money and time and strength and great big giant heart with countless friends, family members and strangers. I'm so glad my parents have a comfortable retirement with the means to enjoy a few luxuries. I can't think of anyone more deserving, as they both continue to bless everyone around them with their generosity.