You were the best part about school breaks. I always looked forward to your visits. I remember waiting for the horn to honk when Jeff, Kari and I would run out and jump into your car. We'd go down to Hearts for a drink and candy bar and Jeff and I would always try to talk you into getting us the refillable mugs because we'd lost the ones you'd bought us on the previous trip. We'd get our drink and then we'd drive away somewhere and talk about current events.
I remember you working in California, telling me that it was so hot that you had to work at night, I always pictured you sitting in an office somewhere in the middle of the night, doing all the work and errands that people normally did during the day. For years I thought at everyone in California was nocturnal.
I remember earlier when we used to go to your (possibly Dave's I was never quite sure) apartment with the pool, Dave was always on his way out to play tennis. I nearly drowned once in that pool after swearing to you that I'd learned to swim, you jumped in to pull me out. While it was a fairly shallow pool and we were surrounded by people and it's not likely that I would have actually drowned I know that we could have been anywhere and you would still have jumped in without even thinking. I've always remembered that as the day you saved my life.
I remember coming to stay with you for a week in Pennsylvania. I was a teenager spinning out of control and you did your best to talk some sense into me. We spent the week seeing what PA had to offer but what I remember most was going to work with you. I never told you just how impressed I was by you at work. Everyone kept telling me how hard you worked, how much everyone depended on you and how you always seemed to do the impossible. You may not have quite got through the message you intended, you still reached me in a way that I still carry with me today.
I always looked up to you, I wanted to be just like you when I grew up and I'm not ashamed to say that in many ways I am. I'm proud to call you Dad.
So happy birthday Dad, I'm sorry I'll miss it. I'll be out there to see you in a couple more months when I can tell you all this in person.
I've had Jack record a message for you.