Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fireworks and flags and all that

It’s the 4th of July, and beyond the typical (and awesome) display of American patriotism, this day is very special to me. Today is my daddy’s birthday. It’s a day of too much sun, some lake water splashing in your face, the scent of Kentucky trees wafting through the air around you, and pineapple upside down cake. He doesn’t need frosting and candles, just a few cans of beer, some good friends, and a smooth lake glinting in the sunshine.

He had me too young and raised me when he was still too reckless. He drove fast, rode fast, worked to make everything he owned fast or faster. I watched as he and Dale pulled motors, replaced brakes, sanded fenders. I knew a world of bondo, and Lava soap, and electric sanders before I could even see over the steering wheel.

I played on my swing set as the sound of mechanics chimed in the garage, set to a soundtrack of old country music, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. Those things linger with me. There were a million other little things that seeped from his hands, from his mind, from his mouth, that defined who I would be. I left his house with a firm grasp on the person that I was, grounded, abundant with morals, and heavy with expectation. But he made it clear to me the expectations were my own, his door would always be open for me, left ajar should I need to come home.

He took me to college, toured a new land, and left me there to thrive. He probably hated the liberal young woman I was becoming, but he never said so. He let me live, marry, move, and still come home when I need to. He is quiet when disapproval sets in, observes closely when he’s curious, and works constantly. He loves our mom, adores his kids, and has worked a lifetime to give us everything he has ever had.

Here’s to you Daddy, Happy Birthday we love you!


  1. Hey there Leslie Great post! Just wanted to let you know I tagged you for the Liebster award! Go to my blog for more info :)

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your father. A firm base to ground ourselves on helps us to follow the right path and to be wise enough to rediscover it if we wander too far astray.