I gripped Daddy's hand as we crossed the parking lot and stepped into the tall building. To my right and left tall counters rimmed the room but I ignored them; all of my attention was focused on the fountain straight ahead.
We crossed the spacious lobby together. Daddy's bank business would wait - we had a routine. First things first.
He jingled the change in his pocket, pulled out a handful of coins and handed me a penny, first checking it for the wheat symbol. Those went in a special jar at home.
I went up the steps to the edge of the fountain, mesmerized by the changing colors in the spraying water. Liquid gemstones... blue, red, orange, green. Coins glittered below, scattered across tiny tiles under the surface of the shallow pool, reflecting whatever hue had its turn at the moment.
Closing my eyes, I whispered a wish and tossed my penny into the air, then watched as it splashed and floated down, down, down to join the others.
I don't remember any of the wishes I made on those pennies so long ago, but I'd like to think at least one of them was to continue making special memories like that with my Daddy for a long, long time.
Because if I wished that, then that's a wish come true.
Today is Daddy's 85th birthday. Just a few weeks ago he was in the hospital having test after test after test run, trying to figure out why his foot refused to follow orders any longer. Nothing definitive was ever pinpointed, so when he was well enough, they let him go home.
Now, I'm no doctor, but I still suspect it had something to do with him chopping up a tree trunk in the backyard and carrying the chunks out to the curb in the front yard... in 100+ degree temperatures. His foot probably just went on strike!
You'll see from the post I wrote last year for his 84th birthday (below) he hasn't changed much in a year. In fact, I think I'm aging much faster than he is. I hope I take after him and have the gumption to chop up a tree trunk when I'm 85!
Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you and can't wait to watch you blow out 85 candles tomorrow evening!
(last year's post... with just a few changes in the photos...)
Blowing a birthday kiss to my Daddy!
Today's my Daddy's 84th birthday.
He complains about this or that, like not being able to think of the word he needs that's on the tip of his tongue, or not having the energy he used to have... but these are things I'm already dealing with!
He's got scars from top to bottom, thanks to heart surgeries, aneurysm surgeries, plus a few other minor and not-so-minor operations... he has to check his blood sugar and his blood pressure every day... he can't eat everything he wants to like he used to, like eggs and bacon and ice cream... but he can still grab a shovel and pluck a stray baby loquat tree from the ground for me... he can jump up from his chair a zillion times a day to give one of their spoiled squirrels a peanut... he can refill the bird feeder, empty the trash, drive to the corner store for his lotto ticket, and do his share of the housework.
In my mind he has never aged.
When I think of him, I see him smiling his devilish grin... maybe humming and doing a little dance across the kitchen floor. I can hear his sweet voice, Time to wake up, Barbara... and his dead-on impersonation of an evil laugh. Mwaa-haa-haa.
I see him jumping rope, showing me how to do push-ups against the kitchen counter, playing ping-pong, swinging a golf club (grumbling) and a tennis racket.
He's beside me at the Sears candy counter, buying us some warm cashews or malted milk balls... in the car at the drive-in theater, watching westerns... in the living room, watching Dark Shadows... at our square dance lessons, do-si-do-ing... at my babies' baptisms, holding them close as only a grandfather can... at the zoo, helping me keep my young brood together.
He's handing me Black Beauty or Call of the Wild or something from Leon Uris, and tucking yet another paperback into his metal lunchbox.
He's in the driver's seat, shuttling me and my friends to the movies and basketball games... he's in the passenger seat, letting me practice behind the wheel.
He's painting an orange and yellow lattice on my bedroom ceiling... he's painting a large fluorescent orange circle on my ceiling... he's painting my furniture royal blue.
He's mowing the grass, wiping the sweat off of his brow with a little golf towel, taking a small break to chug some orange juice and then getting back to work. He's helping me plant beans in the sand pile and sunflowers beside the utility building.
I could go on and on and on... each memory triggers an avalanche of more.
I know I'm blessed to be able to still add to them, and to say "Happy birthday, Daddy! Thank you for all of these wonderful memories! I love you!"