We celebrated my dad’s 71st birthday this weekend. I love celebrating birthdays with my family. We never miss the opportunity to get together. Every single person gets celebrated every single year. They get to pick whether they want a home cooked meal or a meal from their favorite restaurant. They also get to pick their favorite dessert of my mom’s. It’s always a team effort. Everyone arrives and we all pile in the kitchen together…it’s loud and a little chaotic. Everyone wants a part to play, and this time was no different. My mom finished icing her homemade coconut cake, which happens to be my dad’s favorite. My brother pulled the chicken and steak off the grill, I pulled the bacon wrapped asparagus, baked potatoes, and hot, buttery ciabatta bread out of the oven, Andy fixed all the drinks and set the table, and my sister in law taste tested the fun appetizer that I made from Pinterest. All the while the kids were running in and out of the house, and the dog was barking because he thinks he’s one of them. And dad? He was watching Nascar in the family room because it was Sunday afternoon in the South and it was his birthday celebration. Finally, everything was ready, and we all gathered around the table, prayed and thanked God for my dad’s life, and enjoyed another meal together. There’s nothing sweeter or more sacred than gathering around a table with the people that you call family.
This is my dad with all the grandkids. Getting him to smile in a picture is truly a task. For this picture, I told him to give me his best smile…not the one that makes him look like a terrorist. This is what he gave me. Geeeeeez Louise. I think this might be the best it gets. He is a man’s man. He rises before the sun. He has owned his own business for almost 50 years. Can you imagine doing the same thing for 50 years? He can’t imagine life any other way. He has never had a credit card and doesn’t believe in debt of any kind. We were shocked when we talked him into getting a debit card two years ago. He never activated it. Of course he didn’t. He has grown one of the prettiest gardens of anyone I’ve ever known, and he loves to share most of what he grows. He’s humble and simple and very wise. In fact, he’s so simple that he still wears jeans and tennis shoes from 1987. The man does not waste a thing! He’s one of the hardest working men I’ve ever known. And to prove my point, I’ll tell you that he wanted work shirts and pants for his 71st birthday. Work shirts and work pants. His mother worked until she was 76 in the sewing plant, so I’m sure his long term goal is working at least one day longer than she did. He’s loyal to his core and would take the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it. He’s shy, not much of talker, which means it hasn’t always been easy for him to share his feelings, but when he watches any of us do anything, his eyes swell with tears. He loves his family, and we love him. I wanted to share the oh-so simple and delicious appetizer I made from Pinterest. You know it’s A+ when the kids love it! Try it and let me know what you think!