Thursday, February 4, 2021

Happy Birthday Dad

 January 19, 2021

I got my gift of gab from my Dad,
I mean my Dad can talk to anybody about anything even if he knows nothing about the person or the subject
He has this innate ability to just be able to chat up anyone and make them feel comfortable enough to start chatting as well
Going on errands with him is like watching the Mayor work the rope line

When we were little, Dad used to make secret sauce for our white rice
He'd make a big production about getting the measurements of the ingredients just right but never let us see what he was actually doing
We'd hear him in the kitchen stirring, measuring, tasting and muttering as he added a bit more of this and a dollop of that until the taste, color and consistency were just right
Then, he'd make a big deal about bringing the bowl of secret sauce to the table and we'd drown our white rice in secret sauce
It was years before he told us what it was made of
To this day, I do not like white rice without a serving of secret sauce

Dad always had a dog eared paperback book in the car between the seats, in the bathroom or tucked under his arm
From him, I learned to always have a book (now a Kindle) with me to fill the void whilst killing time
And from him, I grew to love Tom Clancy, Nelson DeMille, WEB Griffin, and Louis L'Amour

Dad always has a pocket knife or a jack knife within arm's reach
I'm pretty sure if you polled his 7 kids, at least 5 of us would be able to pull one out of our pockets or purse
And most of us can tie a square knot without looking
I am not one of those us who can handle a square knot but I do have a knife in my purse, two in the junk drawer and one in my glovebox
All of his kids can, to some degree, quote John Wayne
And most of his kids, if you look in their cars, will have a copy of a gazetteer

Dad taught me about Ohm's Law and let me borrow his meter; I won first prize in the Science fair
Dad did not have the patience to teach me math so I went to Summer School
Dad chaperoned all our Survival Trips in Jr High and from him I learned how to start a fire with dryer lint, water proof my matches and use a coffee can as a survival kit
I also learned what happens to the kids who sneak out of their tents after "lights out"

Dad would spend hours putting the lights on the Christmas tree
He would literally wrap the lights around each and every branch until the tree was visible from space
Then, he'd drape tinsel by individual strand on the branches so meticulously the tree looked like it was shimmering
We always had the best looking tree on the street

He worked at the phone company for almost 40 years
Some guys he worked with would tell you he was the ugliest son of a bitch ever
Others would tell you he was the best boss they ever worked for: tough but fair and he'd go to bat for you
All of them would agree he loved the phone company and he had their respect

Dad can wear pink and yellow like no other guy I have ever seen
And when he wore a flannel shirt, he looked like a lumberjack
He pulled off both with ease and charm and was truly one of the most handsome men in the stands at our basketball games or school events
I know this because on more than one occasion, one of the girls I was sitting with would nudge me and say oh my God! Look at that guy up there in the pink shirt - he is so handsome! Look at him.....

Dad has a voice that commands attention
Even when he was not yelling or speaking sternly, he could make you snap to attention just with the sheer gravitas and authority in his tone
It also helped that Dad was tall and broad and his presence physically overshadowed most people in the room

When we were growing up, Dad traveled a lot for work
Sometimes, he would get called out last minute and he'd leave at odd hours of the day and night
The phone would ring or his pager would go off and Dad would be gone
Somehow, he convinced some of our friends that he worked for the CIA and he swore them to secrecy
Told them they must never speak of anything they saw or heard in our house including how much he traveled and how quickly he would leave the house
Dad has beaten cancer, outwitted a couple heat attacks, and
somehow managed to outlive more runs ins with chainsaws, log splitters and mishaps with heavy machinery (and some hand tools) than any one person should

He's walked various daughters down the aisle, referred to all of his grandkids at some point as Shortcake or Froggy, and can draw Bugs Bunny anytime, anywhere with any writing instrument on demand

He's Jack, Big Jack, Uncle Jack, Papa, Papa Jack, Dad, and Johnny to some

Mostly he's one of my favorite people
And today just happens to be the anniversary of his most recent trip around the sun
And marks the beginning of his next trip around the sun

So if you are knocking around the Queen City up there in Maine, or here on Facebook, and you bump into my Dad, Jack Kearns, wish him a happy day

Happy Birthday Dad....

Thanks for teaching me that life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid so try not to be stupid....

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