I hate outing you like this today, but it’s your birthday, Daddy, and I’m missing you like crazy!  I’m sure everyone else misses you, too.  One thing’s for sure, family and friends remember the foot-stomping man who jumped up when the riff to Evelyn Champagne King’s “Love Come Down” came on the radio.  I’m not sure what was so significant about this song for you, but that was your jaaaammmmm!!!!

 On the afternoon of your funeral four months ago, we sat around at Becky’s awaiting the arrival of the hearse.  To break the somber mood, I whipped out my Iphone, tapped my YouTube icon, and found “Love Come Down.”  When I played the song, we laughed and thought of you.  Somehow, that gave us permission to think of the good times, the love.  In an instant, I was transported to the days when you worked at Martin Marietta and came home exhausted each night in your blue chambray work shirt with the company name stitched in red on the left pocket.  Oh, and the matching blue pants holding a starched crease that could cut a finger.  You smelled like sweat and I’m-taking-care-of-my-family funk that I exhaled with joy.  I ran out to your green Rambler to greet you and you touched me with your larger-than-life hands.  You ate, laughed, talked with mom over dinner, showered, went to bed, then got up and did it all over again.  For 30 years.  Between work, paying the bills, encouraging us, and doing the best you knew how, I wondered what dreams you harbored in your heart that remained unspoken.   One thing that wasn’t unspoken was your love for music.  On those times when you were feeling extra good, you’d dance with us and fill the room with your distinct laughter. 

 There’ll be no party for you this year.  So today, I’ll conjure your laughter, eat a slice of caramel cake in your honor, and play Evelyn Champagne King just for you.  Happy Birthday, Daddy.