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  • Betty Girardeau

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today my Dad would have celebrated his 112 birthday. How could that be? In my mind and memory I tend to remember him as he was about the time this picture was taken of him. I loved the smell of his aromatic pipe tobacco. He enjoyed dressing well, too, so it was always pretty easy to come up with ideas for gifts for him. I knitted several sweaters and sweater vests for him, which he loved, and would often thank me again for the gift when he was wearing them. I think of him as being quiet spoken. Typically he left punishing either my sister or me to Mother, though it was pretty easy to tell from his tone of voice and facial expression when we had done something of which he did not approve. He could fix anything, or almost anything. I smile as I remember when I was an adult and I asked him to fix my hair blow dryer. He was all smiles when he returned it to me, commenting on how much dust he had found in it. I was delighted to be able to use it again. Shortly after plugging it in and turning it on, though, my arm was zinged by large sparks. I couldn't turn it off fast enough and had to throw it down on the floor first. But results like that from one of his repairs was very rare. And had he been with me when it happened, I have no doubt that he would have gotten quite a laugh. As long as no one was hurt, he had a tendency to find humor in things like that. I remember when traveling with my parents by air one time that he became quite amused when his male seat mate had orange juice spilled into his lap because of turbulence. My Mother and I, seated in the row just ahead, overheard that gentleman tell my Dad, "Sir, this is NOT amusing!" He enjoyed practical jokes, too. For many years after I had grown up and left home, he would come up with different ways to "scare" the Trick or Treaters on Halloween, which they loved and they always thanked my Dad for the extra fun.

He loved to cook. He always prepared breakfast for the family, and when grilling steaks became popular, he was more than happy to get out and fire up the grill. He was a good and trusting man. My sister and I have commented often about how glad he is no longer alive to become prey to the all too prevalent scams these days. And he was a wonderful care giver to my Mother and later my Step-mother, often putting them ahead of what were surely his needs. I could share so much more about him, and will likely do so in future blogs because I feel so fortunate that he was my Dad and that he was born on this day in 1909.

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