December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)
My dad is turning 86 in a few days, although you would never guess that. Every morning he gets up eager and anxious to get the day going. He and my mom live in a two-story house that they bought in 1969 and he literally sprints up the stairs. They have a pool in the back that he cares for even though they don't swim in it. He and mom plant interesting things in a small side garden and they eat what they sow.
My dad still exercises every day. Some days this means a game of tennis with a much-younger partner whom he can still beat. Occasionally, his knee will act up, but he tells me that he takes 1 (one!!) glucosomine/chondroitin and it immediately feels better. Many days he runs. Yes, I said 'runs!' It's not far, maybe some days just around the block, but he runs. When the weather's bad, he will run in the house. He has a loop that goes: living room, into the dining room, through the kitchen and, rounding the entry way, back into the living room. He does twenty or so laps and feels he's had his exercise. (This makes my mom crazy, because it has worn a pattern in the rug. "He wears his shoes!") And, on all days, he starts first with old-school calisthenics. When I was in high school, I remember the irritation I felt each morning when this woke me up earlier than I wanted with his gruntings...."one, two, three...." as he counted out his push-ups, sit-ups, squats.
He reads the daily paper, the internet, news magazines and an occasional book. This, all despite a type of dyslexia. Sometimes he quietly reads out loud, as his index finger underlines the words, but he always reads. There is always a jigsaw puzzle being worked on in the family room. TV is frequently on in the kitchen while he works on a project. He and my mom go out to eat almost daily. They love to go out to breakfast, but any meal is enjoyable to eat out for them. He talks to anybody he meets. Again, when I was in high school, this was irritating. He would stick out his hand and introduce himself to ANYONE and ask about the other person and sometimes INVITE THEM HOME! I was mortified; now, I wish I could be more like him.
He spent his first 15 years in a foreign land where they worried about the food. It has stayed with him all his life. I don't believe he has ever eaten the skin of a tomato. Produce was always washed with a vegetable scrubber when I was growing up and we were careful how we ate fruits and vegetables. He won't touch most of his food with his hands. Oh, how my siblings and I used to laugh at this...still do, actually.
Take brownies. My dad LOVES brownies. Loves, loves, loves. He makes them himself, frequently...Betty Crocker brownies, add the walnuts. The way my dad eats them is that they are cut, placed on a plate, and then while he stands at the counter in the kitchen, he will bend down and eat them off the plate with his mouth. His hands will be clasped behind his back. That's a funny image, right?!
But so what? That's my dad. And, so, for this year's birthday present, I went to one of those ceramic paint-your-own places and made him a plate.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!!