Happy Birthday Dad
Today was a tough day.
Back in July, Dad flat out promised me that he wouldn't die if I went home and studied for the last two weeks before the bar. He more or less ordered me to go home with a stern look and the phrase:
I don't want to be the reason you don't pass that test.
Well, Dad. You weren't.
I know you are proud of me and I will spend the rest of my life thankful that you were so selfless with your health that you did keep your promise to me. You let me finish the stupid test and celebrate my birthday before you said goodbye. You did it on your terms and I will always be impressed by the strength of the life force you exercised until the very last magical breath that you allowed your children to share with you.
I hope you like the flowers I left you today. I looked around and saw that everyone else left their bouquets in the plastic but that seemed wrong for you so I took out the 20 roses and arranged them on the ground at the base of the feathers.
While I'm not sure how you feel about the roses, I know you loved that Garry collected the longest tailfeathers from all the pheasants that the guys at the pheasant club got yesterday and put 'em at your head.
After visiting you, E and I had headed even further towards the hills and enjoyed a big, hearty, country-style breakfast in a family-run diner with vinyl covered tables and plastic chairs after we visited the cemetery. They don't have diners like that where we live. It was nice. They seemed to know all of the patrons except us, but they welcomed us with the open but guarded glances I sometimes saw you give city-folk if you were with the hunting boys and concerned about how the mud, the guns, and the trucks were going to be received.
I ate myself silly on a portion of huevos rancheros that was fit for a big man who does physical labor for a living. There were easily 6 slabs of bacon in the stack of refried beans, fried tortillas, eggs, and salsa that made up my up-in-the-sticks-version of huevos rancheros. Damn, it was good.
Later, sister, E and I went to your favorite bar and had a few beers while playing liar's dice with the owner. They have a little shrine up for you and a stranger came over to toast you and said he missed you. It was nice. Also, the owner of the bar won at dice, which we all figured you would like. Oh, and you are winning the football pool. But you probably knew that.
Anyways, Happy Birthday big guy. We all love and miss you.