Monday, June 9, 2008

Bittersweet Birthdays

Look, even Harry thinks it's too hot!

Today's his birthday. You know what that means? More birthday tuna. Yeah! No cooking for me tonight. He's going to be four and still hasn't outgrown his terrible twos. Yes AJ, cats have them too. His latest trick...unrolling the toilet paper while I'm attempting to sleep. Yell at him and he comes to the door to peek at me before going right back to it. I can actually see his naughty little boy smirk. On the odd occasion when I do manage to sleep through it, he's kept it up so long that he rerolls the paper in the other direction. That got me thinking the first time it happened. I tried putting the roll on the other way, just in case that was bothering him and nope, didn't matter. He still messed with it.

The other birthday today is a sad one. My dad's. He would have been 79 today. Since he ran out of things he actually needed years ago. I started the tradition of taking him to see a Broadway show every year. He was an awesome musician and loved musicals. Although he could play anything, he specialized in the piano. He was one of those who could play just about any request you could come up with. When I was young he was in a band. One night they played at Crystal Cave. Being five, I thought he meant in the cave itself. I hadn't been there yet so I envisioned him sitting at a baby grand like he did at home, surrounded by sparkly crystals in the floor, walls, and ceiling. This stayed in my mind for years until I went to the cave on a field trip and then came home and asked him about it. Turns out he played in the little club of the same name right next to the cave.

He was a Marine during the Korean war. During that phase of his life, he played a French horn in the Marine band on Parris Island. I wish I'd been able to see him in his dress uniform. I bet he was dashing. There are a few pictures but it's just not the same.

After that, he became a teacher. Music and history to start. Then he switched to guidance and eventually got his psycologist's license to help troubled kids in even more ways. I was always amazed at how quiet he was since that just doesn't fit with the whole Marine/musician image but that was my dad, a mass of contradictions and all of them interesting. My father was a genuinely nice man with a kind heart and a caring soul. I can't tell you how much I miss him.

My dad's favorite was cheesecake. The kind with both a cream cheese and a sour cream layer. It took all afternoon for me to make one since first you make the crust with melted butter which then has to chill. Next you add the cream cheese mixture, bake it and let it chill again. Finally you put on the sour cream mixture, bake it and chill it one more time before it's ready to eat. I sure wish he were here for his cheesecake now.

Yes please, away!


Amarinda Jones said...

I can almost see your father from your description. This must be the day for blogs coming from the heart. Excellent post

Regina Carlysle said...

Ah, Barbara. He sounds amazing and I know you miss him so much. Such a vivid and interesting man deserves vivid memories. So. Happy Birthday to your dad.

Kelly Kirch said...

Happy birthday dad and Harry. \

Molly Daniels said...

My cat Rosie used to sleep like that!

Happy birthday Harry and your dad:)

Sandra Cox said...

A wonderful blog on your dad! And I love Harry:)