Today is my dad’s birthday. He has been dead for some time now.

I am blessed to have had a very interesting dad. He sold vacuums for a living. For my entire life he owned Kirby Distributorship. All of my growing up jobs involved working for him & in his business. So even though my dad worked long hours (as a kid he routinely came home after we were in bed), I feel like I spent a good deal of time with him especially between Jr High & College years.

Here are some interesting things about my dad if you care to know them:

√ I have NEVER seen him in jeans, ever! He always wore slacks & a button up shirt. He wore Bermuda shorts at the beach or trunks, but never jeans, even camping.

√ He served in the navy in WW2 & was on a ship that was sunk in a naval battle in the Philippines. He narrowly escaped being a POW or worse when for unexplained reasons the Japanese fleet changed course.

√ He was one of those “grew up in the depression” people whose reaction was to spend freely. We ate out more than any of our friends, we always owned a boat, we had mini bikes. He sold vacuums to butchers & took meat out in trade to the point that it was common for my 2 brother’s & I to complain “steak AGAIN?”

√ My dad was generous to a fault. He left big tips, grabbed checks, had people who worked for him stay at our house when need be, brought our friends from the neighborhood on virtually every fun trip we ever took.

√ He had the classic salesman personality. I don’t think I ever had the thought, “my dad is uncomfortable in this social situation”. I’m pretty sure there was not one, even one, introverted impulse in his body.

√ He loved sports. He saw them as a metaphor for life. I heard the same stories of his various playing days over & over. He made it clear who we were root for & who NOT to root for (I once had a friend thrown out of our house for cheering for the Packers – seriously)

Our family wasn’t Leave it to Beaver. There are lots of things I have tried to do differently, chief of which was to make Christ the center of our casa. But you can see some things after the fact that you can’t in the moment & I bless God for giving me the dad & mom that he did.

He was there! My parents stayed married. I took it for granted then. I don’t now.

He provided. He was proud of it. I took it as a given then. I don’t now.

He gave me a worldview. We talked business, economics, politics, religion, science, culture. Although not educated beyond high school, he had a wealth of experience, common sense and a good mind. I assumed this was universal. I don’t now.

He became a Christ follower before he died. I never took this for granted.