Happy Birthday Dad!

Who's laughing harder? Dad or his great-granddaughter?

Who’s laughing harder? Dad or his great-granddaughter?

I am incredibly lucky to have parents who I love tremendously, and who have been so good to me.

Thank you Mom and Dad.

As I get older and realize my good luck, I have tried to express my gratitude to you in person and with others, but have not really taken the time to write it down at length or share publicly, so here it is.

Dad, since you turned 96 yesterday, I thought I would start by talking about you.

I’m not sure how you managed to combine being strict and demanding with love and support, but you did and I appreciate it now (and have for a couple of decades).  However there were times as a kid when I was quite frustrated. Looking back I see how those strong emotions gave me the strength to work through situations where I might have been lazy.

Hamaker Family 6I feel so lucky that those are my only negative memories.  Moving to the good stuff, here are some of my favorite moments in my life with you as my caring father:

  • Even as you have gotten older and your life is more quiet, you still laugh out loud regularly.
  • Doing the right thing is tantamount for you, even when others disagree.
  • At your 90th birthday dinner, I received some of my favorite advice from you, “You’re about as happy as you make up your mind to be.”  You didn’t remember that the quote is from Abraham Lincoln, but just let it’s meaning guide your life.
  • Going camping when we were kids–how you spent days beforehand making sure everything was organized and in good working order, that every contingency was covered.  I knew that we would have everything we needed when our family was off the grid, on the beach in Mexico.  Decades later I still love the idea that our family spent a week not needing running water or electricity, except when we went into town for a tasty fiesta lunch.
  • That you know how to fix anything–except my doll that got crushed.  I don’t remember it happening, but I love the story that mom tells of when I was about two and my doll was mangled beyond recognition having been run over by the car.  I came to you in tears with dolly in my arms, saying “Fix it daddy.”  You couldn’t bring her back to life, but even at 2-years-old I knew you were the best person to ask to try.
John Uniform

Serving our country in WWII

I want to say something profound to show the depth of my gratitude, but all I can think of is THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being there for me as a caring and involved parent. I love you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! And many happy returns of the day.

 

Hamaker Family 19

Dad and Rosemarie, wonderful step-mom

 

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

Loving Father

Loving Father

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