Today is my dad's birthday. He's a stand-up guy who records PBS mysteries and cooking shows on DVD and mails them to me. He made me a sandwich for lunch every day from first grade until my last day of high school and didn't get too mad at me when I hit my car with his car last year. I didn't hear him swear until I was 20 years old. I had been packing the car to go back to college after the summer. He was ready to hit the road. I was ready to do a load of laundry like it was no big deal. Now I know what a Grade-A asshat move that was.
He is extremely loyal to his favorite, local businesses -- so much so that when he goes to his weekend breakfast spot, he doesn't even have to order. The food just appears. He likes to buy things that have been Made in America. Did you know you can no longer buy a coffee pot that has been Made in America? You're welcome, my dad's done the leg work.
One of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me was about his Jimi Hendrix Otis Redding Live at Monterey record. I had only been listening to the Jimi side trying to be cool. "Turn the record over," he said. Changed my world. He does the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in ink, and can (within reason, and a certain set of decades) identify the make, model, and any other remarkable characteristics of a car just by spotting it in traffic. He used to start off every voicemail he left me with an ominous, "Sarah, This is your father." No shit. It's only one of the two voices I've been hearing since about day one. (Naturally, I assumed part of my world was ending. It never was.) He made me pose for a picture on the first day of school for 12 years (and twice in the 8th grade, because he was convinced the original roll of film was ruined.) I grew to hate it, but it didn't kill me.
He was eating at the Loveless Cafe outside of Nashville before it was cool. Not because he has a coolness barometer and knew it would be, but more likely because they have some of the best biscuits and blackberry jam east of the Mississippi.
He likes biscuits.
Happy Birthday Dad!