Fourscore…The Rest Of The Story

My Dad turned 80 last Friday…on February 23rd. We had his birthday celebration on Saturday evening to give all the out of town family members a chance to get here.

During the party, Dad told a story about how until he was 28 years old, he thought his birthday was February 22nd. He had been born at home, late at night, and that was the date his mother had always said he was born.

When he was 28 years old, he went to the Social Security Administration office to get a copy of his birth certificate so he could get married to my Mom. He was shocked to see February 23rd instead of February 22nd on his birth certificate.

We started the party on Saturday by all of us wearing “80” glasses and shouting “Happy Birthday” as Dad came in the door.

Next was dinner and birthday cake. Written on the cake was: “Good Gravy, Look Who’s 80!”  I told Dad ahead of time to be prepared to blow out 80 birthday candles.  I was only kidding, but he did come prepared with a fire extinguisher!

After the food, was a fun true/false game to see how much the family knew about Dad’s life. Everyone did pretty well on this except for knowing that Dad actually owned and rode a Harley as a teenager. I think we were all pretty surprised by that one!

Next came gifts, and in addition to a lot of great gift cards and certificates, Dad received a supposedly “winning” Powerball ticket, a shirt from his beloved Notre Dame, a money tree plant, an “Indiana” shadow box, and a bottle of Wild Turkey. He so enjoyed reading all the cards and notes.

Finally, it was time for everyone to read their favorite memories of Dad. Some were funny and others were serious and sentimental. After we each read ours, we placed it in the treasure chest for Dad to take home along with others sent to him from out of town family and friends.

I asked Dad what his favorite part of his 80th birthday party was, and he said it was “getting to spend the evening with so many people that he loves.” I think that’s pretty much how it is with most of us. As we get older, what means the most, is time with our loved ones.

Author’s note: Another surprise for Dad during his birthday celebration, was the announcement of a new great-grandchild on the way. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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