"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad turns 65 today.  He thinks it's funny that the government is now going to pay him to breathe.

Here are things my Dad is not planning to do anytime soon - or ever:

  • retire
  • golf
  • move to Florida with golfing retirees
Dad always told us we could do anything we put our minds to.  I believed him.  Until a brief stint working at a hospital laundry service, during which it became painfully apparent to everyone that I could NOT untangle heavy, twisted, wet bedsheets at the necessary speed.  Nor could I keep up with the conveyor belt of burning-hot ironed and folded clean bedsheets at the other end.  I quit shortly after they all piled up in a distinctly I-Love-Lucy moment.

When we were kids, my Dad made breakfast every Saturday morning.  Fried eggs and toast.  And none of this sunny-side-up nonsense.  Eggs were fried with salt, pepper and a little garlic, and flipped once.  Toast was made by us.  Dad would open my bedroom door early Saturday morning, flip on the light and holler, "cock-a-doodle-do!!!"  And then he'd say, "I'm making breakfast.  You're on toast."

I couldn't argue with the reasonable logic of expecting help with toast when he was making the eggs.  But to this day - I'll happily make eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, even a frittata or perfectly quartered oranges.  But I hate making toast.

My Dad drinks coffee.  Once, when I was about 8, my sister and I went to work with him - maybe it was March Break or a PD day.  I don't know.  (Truthfully, it wasn't an infrequent experience.  We'd have the whole church to ourselves while he worked away - we thought it was great.  Eventually, he just started assigning jobs to us, similar to the "you're on toast" scenario.  Now he does it with the grandkids when he has the chance.  They think it's great too.)  Anyway, on this particular day, I took note of the ever-present coffeepot in the church kitchen and asked him if I could have some.  I distinctly remember him pausing very briefly, and then saying - "Yeah, sure."  Some time later, he returned to find me sitting and slowly twirling on the countertop, coffeepot empty, sugar bowl significantly depleted.  I recall thinking that his sputtered, "HOW MUCH COFFEE HAVE YOU HAD??" was probably due to the fact that he was going to have do some explaining to my Mom when we got home.

He claims he can play piano, due to the hours spent beside us on the bench while we moaned and complained, and he cheerfully repeated, "You can do it, honey ... one more time ... good job ... "

Once he's announced he's going to do something, it's as good as done, evidenced many years ago by his statement to a friend when his eyes landed on a particular girl in the church choir - "I'm going to marry that girl."  He did.  To my knowledge, the only thing he's ever backed down on was our mutually-agreed-upon intention to never, ever work together.  We liked each other.  We wanted to keep it that way.  It took a little exasperated encouragement from both Mom and Spike to get us to reconsider.  Turns out they were right - it WAS a good idea.

Dad grew up on a farm, and has been a chemical technologist, a public school teacher, and a pastor (from rural small-town to urban down-town).  He says he still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he's having a blast figuring it out.  He loves his family, he loves people, he loves his job and he loves coffee.

Happy 65th Dad!


Anonymous said...

LOL! Bravo Mr. Pierce! And happy birthday.

Bob said...

Wow 65 !!

Now he get into that special section at Zellers where they sell the plaid pants with the really high waist lines that seniors seem to prefer :)

Does this birthday mean that we have to meet for dinner at 4:30 now to get the senior's menu ??

Heather said...

Happy birthday Uncle Roy!

Ruth said...

To the man who would tease me and take my fried chicken.

Happy Birthday Uncle Roy!!!

John and Pat said...

Happy Birthday Roy!

Hope the next 65 are as much fun as the first 65 have been.

Ken said...

Happy Birthday indeed.

I'd say I beat you to it, but that only reminds me that you've been younger in spirit since I first got to know you courtesy of my sister (that girl in the choir).

Anonymous said...

Great blog Patti! Well written!
Happy Birthday Roy!

M. said...

Happy Birthday to your dad. And don't feel bad about being defeated by a hospital laundry. Stephen King used to do that before he made it big. He'd throw plastic bags filled with dirty linen into a tub boiling water and fish the plastic out with a long wooden rod. He said sometimes he'd find things like dentures and scalpels at the bottom of the tub at the end of his shift; "It was like a big Crackerjack box with weird prizes..."

Ken Hill said...

I have many fond memories of Roy since we first met in the labs of Imperial Oil, Research Dept. Roy taught me, on lunch hours, how to play chess. I remember, in one lesson, as I was going to make a move, Roy, my tutor, said “That is not a good move!” In spite of his advice I made the move and said “checkmate!!!!” The mighty had fallen.

Susan and I had many great experiences with Roy and Lynda including tenting together. Roy, remember that sleepless, heart-pounding night when we thought that people were prowling about outside of our tent, only to discover in the morning that these “people” were beavers?

Roy is a great storyteller and has the wonderful ability to make the story much more exciting than it likely was. Nevertheless, Susan and I thoroughly enjoy listening to Roy tell stories of his experiences. One story I will never forget. Roy and Lynda were just newly married and decided to go camping. They packed their little Volkswagen Beetle and drove to a campground. They set up their tent and brought in their sleeping bags and all of their clothes. About midnight they heard a commotion in a nearby site. They looked out and saw, what appeared to them, a party where the drinking was out of control. “What if they come after us? Yikes!! We gotta get out of here!!!!!!” Roy and Lynda raced out of the tent, hurriedly took the tent down with everything still inside, rolled it up, clothes, sleeping bags and everything else, into one big ball. They jammed it all into their little Beetle and escaped with their lives. Whew!!!!

Roy, I am glad that you survived that night because I truly enjoy our times together even though they have been few since we moved to British Columbia.

Happy 65th Birthday but please don’t forget that I am 6 years your senior and you still need to call me “sir”.