My dad will be another year older on Saturday. In celebration here are 13 things I love about my dad.
1. He is incredibly generous with his time and resources. Many times he has sacrificed much to help out some else that was in need; whether that meant pulling over to help a stranger on the road, giving someone his last penny, visiting elderly widows, visiting the sick, and so many other things. In my younger years I was a gymnast. I never knew how much my parents paid so that I could attend the gym I liked, until my dad sat me down on the swing set one day when I was about 12 to tell me that with my skill level raise, and an up in prices, the monthly fee was going to be a lot of money. When he told me how much, I was certain that he was going to tell me I could no longer do it, but instead he just asked if it was really wanted I wanted to do. When I said it was, he said they would find a way to make it work. And he always did!
2. He loves the outdoors. Whether it is fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, rafting, he loves to be out in nature. This is a love that he has passed on to me. His most recent hobby is antler hunting. Every spring all the deer and elk shed their antlers to grow new ones. He loves to go out and comb the mountains for a find.
3. He loves his children, but he especially loves his grandchildren. Antalya was in the hospital for a month after she was born, recovering from surgery. I think my dad visited her nearly ever day.
4. He loves vanilla ice cream, hamburgers, and Coke. My parents like to take us kids out to dinner for our birthdays. I learned a few years ago, that although he says he is happy to go anywhere, he is miserable unless he can order a good old fashioned hamburger.
5. When we were kids he would lay down on his back and then let us stand up on his hands. He would then extend his arms straight up and push us into the air. I loved this! He always took time to play with us even though he was busy with work and church service.
6. He was a marathon runner for most of the years I was growing up. I have very fond memories of traveling as a family each October to cheer him (and sometimes my mom) on as he ran the St George marathon. I think of him and my mom every morning when I struggle to run 2-3 miles. I don't know how they did it, but they inspire me.
7. He always plays the role of Donkey in our families depiction of the Nativity story. He does a great job - he even includes sound effects.
8.He is an incredibly gifted pianist. He makes playing the piano look effortless.
9. He has a strong sense of pride in his heritage. He loves learning about his ancestors and sharing stories about their strength and courage. If it weren't for his stories, I would know little about where I come from, and the exemplary lives of those who have preceded me in life.
10. He loves my mom. This summer they will celebrate their 35th (I think) wedding anniversary.
11. Once you become his friend, you will always be his friend. Whether you are a new acquaintance, an old school buddy, or a friend from Colombia that he met nearly 40 years ago when he was a missionary, he is still interested in keeping in touch and knowing about your life.
12. He never seems to age. Maybe that is how most people feel about their parents, but it is true. He can still hike circles around most people, and still looks the same as he did 10 years ago. I heard a stranger comment once that my dad was very handsome. I agree. I think he is very handsome, and next to my grandpa, has the strongest biceps I have ever seen!
13. He loves the latin people and language. I was a missionary in Chile for 18 months. While I was away my mom and dad saved their money so as to be able to pick me up in Santiago when I was done. We spent a week together in Chile visiting all my friends and seeing some of the sights. My dad loved the opportunity to practice the spanish he had learned as a missionary in Colombia. He felt an instant love with all the people he met, and still 5 years later, he remembers each person's name, and asks me for updates on their lives. I think if my mom would let him, he would leave everything and move to South America in a heartbeat.
I love you Dad! Thanks for all you do.