Happy Birthday Dad!

Geno, Geezer & Mike

My Dad in the middle, with his high-school buddy Geno on the left, and me on the right!

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad is truly a one of a kind guy.  He sacrificed a lot when Robin and I were kids so that we could do things that we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to do.  Whenever we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Mom and Dad would take us, then Dad would usually drive back home later on would drive back and pick us up, or if needed, we would fly home.  The point here is that most of the time the only vacation my dad ever got was one away from his punky kids! :)

My dad worked most of his life as a self-employed cabinetmaker.  He was very reputable, and word spread for him only by way of word of mouth.  My dad did many incredible projects, all out of our single car garage at my parents home in Northern Virginia, and my sister and I would help him out sometimes when he needed help.

As I said, Dad was a reputable man, based on his upbringing, so he would only take 1/2 of the pay first in order to get the supplies he needed, and then take the rest of the money at delivery.  He also had lower overhead then a lot of big cabinet firms did, so as a result he would charge less — less then he probably should have charged, because he did excellent work, and he didn’t charge enough for the pieces he created.

I know that this will probably sound weird to my dad, because in all honesty, I had no great desire to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and become a cabinetmaker, but some of the best moments we had as father and son were in those times when I was helping him deliver and install the cabinets and other works that his clients asked of him.

I’ll never forget the many times that we rode out to Mr. & Mrs. Boyd’s house near Georgetown.  Mr. Boyd had worked for the DC Police Department before retirement, and he and his wife had a very eclectic house, that was high up on a vista, and had a backyard that sloped pretty steeply right down to the water of the Potomac River.  I loved visiting their house with Dad, and helping him out, because inevitably Dad would let me take a break and walk around outside for a few minutes, examining all of the incredible nooks and crannies of the Boyd homestead.

My Dad did a lot of work that he took pride in, some of it big, and some of it small, and some of it, even that ended up being used around the country and even ended up being featured in publications!  My dad was commissioned once to make a gavel for a lawyer publication, if memory serves me correctly, and the gavel he mad was used on the cover photo of the magazine.

Dad also did some work for United Airlines, who my Grandpa worked for before he retired from the company.  Dad created some special kiosk type cabinets that we transported to the Newark Airport in Newark, NJ, and were used in the main terminal for many years of reliable operation.

After I moved to North Carolina, my dad and I did a few trips together while I was in my single days.  One trip we took to visit my Aunt Ginny in Missouri, stopping along the way and visiting with my Great Aunt in Dayton, Ohio, and having lunch with one of my Dad’s cousins (I know, my cousin too) in Illinois before reaching the St. Louis area.  That was a memorable trip, and one that I haven’t forgotten, all these many years later.

Another trip that I took with Dad was when we went camping down the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway.  Dad was so excited, he read all up on it about how to tie up your food to keep it from bears, where we should stop, and so forth.  We spent three nights camping.  The first night, after we entered the Skyline Drive, we checked in so they knew we were camping, and the first words out of Dad’s mouth were “How far down is Bear Den Mountain?”  He wanted to camp there in case we might meet up with a bear!  Needless to say, we never saw a bear at all…

However, when we got there, we took our gear out of the car and started hiking along the trail to find a spot to camp, and not paying attention, we probably hiked a mile downhill until we stopped to setup camp.  Of course, the next day, we had to hike a mile uphill with all of our gear!  That was not so much fun for us!

The second day we stopped at a spot near the end of the day, and hiked uphill to a spot — but no where near the mile we hiked the first day.  We setup camp on a slightly uneven spot, which ended up being a problem for me because it rained that night — and the rain just happened to drip on my head!  Lucky for me I had my old man there to nag until he fixed it…

On the third night, I think we were both getting sick of camping, so we found a spot that had campsites right next to where you park your car!  That worked for me, so that’s what we did!  Do you spot a trend here?

During our travels, though, we experienced some incredible moments — such as the time we had to stop right in the middle of the road because there were literally dozens of wild turkeys just standing in the middle of the road.  I would guess that there were easily 30 or 40 turkeys!

We also ate a great meal in Linville Falls, NC, at a local restaurant there that had the distinction of having signs up in the restaurant telling you when you were entering a different county, because 3 counties intersect in Linville Falls!

Now that I’m married, my travels with my dad are fewer and more spaced out, but we are still able to enjoy some time together.  One time when my parents came down, Dad and I spent some time and went on a photo shoot together.  Dad has recaptured his love of photography, and takes some wonderful photos that have even been awarded ribbons at contests before!  I have an affinity for trains, so I’ll close with this picture Dad took of this wonderful train.  Enjoy!

734 Coming out of Ridgely

Thank you all for reading my long post — I’m sorry that it was so long, but I’ve only got one Dad, and I wanted him to know how much wisdom he has imparted on me over the years. It’s not always easy to write about your loved ones, but Dad, I love you, and I hope you enjoyed your post — and your photo in the post as well!  Happy Birthday Dad!

 

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom’s Birthday!  Happy Birthday Mom!  This is a big day for you, and I hope that you have a wonderful day and weekend!

The pictures that I’m including in this post were taken when we took Mom to the Magic Kingdom for a day back on August 2nd, 2006.  This was Sophie’s second trip to Disney, and as you can see, my daughter already knew that she was a Princess!

Happy Birthday Mom

My Mom enjoying herself on the Carousel!

My Mom is not one for thrill rides, so riding something like the Carousel, and it’s a small world, and seeing the Country Bear Jamoree — those are right up her alley!  To her credit, she did try the Barnstormer kiddie roller coaster with Sophie (although she didn’t enjoy it at all).

Over the years, my Mom has been through a lot, and it is a testimony to her soul, and her kind spirit, and her upbringing that she is the person she is.

All of you that are regular readers know that I am a man of Faith.  My Mom is living proof of the evidence of God’s existence.

My Mom was bitten by a mosquito when she was about 1 year old, and contracted a very serious illness.  My Grandpa had to teach her how to talk and how to walk again, and she came very close to not being here.

My Grandpa was assigned to the Washington, DC area in the early 60s to manager the United Airlines hangar setup at what was to become Dulles International Airport, so of course my Grandma and their children moved to the area also.  It was while they lived in the area that my Mom and Dad met — on a blind date — were married on May 1, 1964 — over 50 years ago.

Sometimes I think it is easy for us to think that God has nothing special in plan for our lives.  I wonder if my Mom ever wondered that about her life?  What I know is that the events of her life, from early on until this very day, are proof of the special role that God has for her, and for all of us.

Mom, I love you with all of my heart, and I am proud to be your son.

Love,

Mickey

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Happy Birthday Grandpa

My Mom and her Dad, my Grandpa, in 2007.

Today, my friends, is my Grandpa’s birthday!  He would be 101 years old today!  It’s hard for me to imagine that this time three years ago, he had just passed away in his sleep.  My Grandpa was 98 when he was called Home, and he is probably the only person I will ever meet in this life that was called home on the same day that he was born.

I consider myself a very blessed man to have been able to have my Grandpa (and my Grandma, too, for that matter) in my life for as long as I did.  It’s not every person that can say that they had their Grandpa with them until they were 43 years old.  Sophie was 10 years old — she had her Poppy (that’s what she called her Great Grandpa) for 10 years of her life.

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Grandpa surrounded by his three children, their spouses, and one of his granddaughters!

This was a bittersweet day for us — this was the day that we moved Grandpa out of the house that he and Grandma had bought in Florida, and moved him north to live with my Mom and Dad.  It was bittersweet because we had so many great memories from those visits, but we knew that Grandpa couldn’t live there anymore on his own.  This was not long after Grandma had passed away.

 

Canfield Corner Pharmacy

This past July we took my Mom to the pharmacy that my Grandpa’s Dad ran!

Part of remembering Grandpa was in taking a family trip to visit where he grew up as a boy in Connecticut.  My Great Grandfather was the pharmacist that owned this pharmacy, and my Grandpa in his youth was a Soda Jerk!  They had their house just a short walk up the street.  It was a lot of fun visiting that area and meeting the current pharmacist and just visiting areas that I had never been to before!

Happy Birthday Grandpa

This is the Memorial Gardens where Grandma and Grandpa’s ashes are buried. This is at their church in Florida.

Grandpa was buried in the same Memorial Garden that my Grandma was five years earlier.  They both opted for cremation, and this Memorial Garden was established by their church in New Port Richey, Florida.  It is a fitting tribute to the church that despite the fact that Grandpa hadn’t been to that church in five years, there were still members of the congregation that remembered him and my Grandma, and made it a point to come to his service.

My Grandpa was a man of firsts — the first person (along with my Grandma, of course) to take me to Walt Disney World.  The first person to teach me to swim — we actually taught each other!  The first person to teach me all of the different airplanes that he knew from his days working for United Airlines.  Lastly, my Grandpa showed me, through his love for my Grandma, the perfect way to treat your wife, and that is something that I will never, ever forget.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Friendship Friday – Dad

Geno, Geezer & Mike

My Dad in the middle, with his high-school buddy Geno on the left, and me on the right!

Welcome to this week’s Friendship Friday post!  Today’s post is dedicated to my dad, Joe, who celebrates his birthday this Sunday!  Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad is truly a one of a kind guy.  He sacrificed a lot when Robin and I were kids so that we could do things that we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to do.  Whenever we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Mom and Dad would take us, then Dad would usually drive back home later on would drive back and pick us up, or if needed, we would fly home.  The point here is that most of the time the only vacation my dad ever got was one away from his punky kids! :)

My dad worked most of his life as a self-employed cabinetmaker.  He was very reputable, and word spread for him only by way of word of mouth.  My dad did many incredible projects, all out of our single car garage at my parents home in Northern Virginia, and my sister and I would help him out sometimes when he needed help.

As I said, Dad was a reputable man, based on his upbringing, so he would only take 1/2 of the pay first in order to get the supplies he needed, and then take the rest of the money at delivery.  He also had lower overhead then a lot of big cabinet firms did, so as a result he would charge less — less then he probably should have charged, because he did excellent work, and he didn’t charge enough for the pieces he created.

I know that this will probably sound weird to my dad, because in all honesty, I had no great desire to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and become a cabinetmaker, but some of the best moments we had as father and son were in those times when I was helping him deliver and install the cabinets and other works that his clients asked of him.

I’ll never forget the many times that we rode out to Mr. & Mrs. Boyd’s house near Georgetown.  Mr. Boyd had worked for the DC Police Department before retirement, and he and his wife had a very eclectic house, that was high up on a vista, and had a backyard that sloped pretty steeply right down to the water of the Potomac River.  I loved visiting their house with Dad, and helping him out, because inevitably Dad would let me take a break and walk around outside for a few minutes, examining all of the incredible nooks and crannies of the Boyd homestead.

My Dad did a lot of work that he took pride in, some of it big, and some of it small, and some of it, even that ended up being used around the country and even ended up being featured in publications!  My dad was commissioned once to make a gavel for a lawyer publication, if memory serves me correctly, and the gavel he mad was used on the cover photo of the magazine.

Dad also did some work for United Airlines, who my Grandpa worked for before he retired from the company.  Dad created some special kiosk type cabinets that we transported to the Newark Airport in Newark, NJ, and were used in the main terminal for many years of reliable operation.

After I moved to North Carolina, my dad and I did a few trips together while I was in my single days.  One trip we took to visit my Aunt Ginny in Missouri, stopping along the way and visiting with my Great Aunt in Dayton, Ohio, and having lunch with one of my Dad’s cousins (I know, my cousin too) in Illinois before reaching the St. Louis area.  That was a memorable trip, and one that I haven’t forgotten, all these many years later.

Another trip that I took with Dad was when we went camping down the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway.  Dad was so excited, he read all up on it about how to tie up your food to keep it from bears, where we should stop, and so forth.  We spent three nights camping.  The first night, after we entered the Skyline Drive, we checked in so they knew we were camping, and the first words out of Dad’s mouth were “How far down is Bear Den Mountain?”  He wanted to camp there in case we might meet up with a bear!  Needless to say, we never saw a bear at all…

However, when we got there, we took our gear out of the car and started hiking along the trail to find a spot to camp, and not paying attention, we probably hiked a mile downhill until we stopped to setup camp.  Of course, the next day, we had to hike a mile uphill with all of our gear!  That was not so much fun for us!

The second day we stopped at a spot near the end of the day, and hiked uphill to a spot — but no where near the mile we hiked the first day.  We setup camp on a slightly uneven spot, which ended up being a problem for me because it rained that night — and the rain just happened to drip on my head!  Lucky for me I had my old man there to nag until he fixed it…

On the third night, I think we were both getting sick of camping, so we found a spot that had campsites right next to where you park your car!  That worked for me, so that’s what we did!  Do you spot a trend here?

During our travels, though, we experienced some incredible moments — such as the time we had to stop right in the middle of the road because there were literally dozens of wild turkeys just standing in the middle of the road.  I would guess that there were easily 30 or 40 turkeys!

We also ate a great meal in Linville Falls, NC, at a local restaurant there that had the distinction of having signs up in the restaurant telling you when you were entering a different county, because 3 counties intersect in Linville Falls!

Now that I’m married, my travels with my dad are fewer and more spaced out, but we are still able to enjoy some time together.  The last time that my parents came down, Dad and I spent some time and went on a photo shoot together.  Dad has recaptured his love of photography, and takes some wonderful photos that have even been awarded ribbons at contests before!  I have an affinity for trains, so I’ll close with this picture Dad took of this wonderful train.  Enjoy!

734 Coming out of Ridgely

Thank you all for reading my long post — I’m sorry that it was so long, but I’ve only got one Dad, and I wanted him to know how much wisdom he has imparted on me over the years. It’s not always easy to write about your loved ones, but Dad, I love you, and I hope you enjoyed your post — and your photo in the post as well!  Happy Birthday, Dad!

As you all know, the inspiration for Friendship Friday came from my friend Heidi from Heidi’s Head.  Stop by her post by clicking on the button below and see what great friend she is focusing on today!

Friendship Friday: My Grandpa!

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friendship Friday.  Today I have another one of the special people in my life — my Grandpa!

Grandpa and I have always been buddies — for as long as I can remember.  Grandpa worked at United Airlines for 41 years, stepping down in 1978.  Gramps was assigned to different airports by United as their Chief Maintenance Manager (or something like that) — so he and Grandma and Mom and Aunt Bette and Uncle Roger were always travelling to different states.

My Grandpa was assigned to work at the United Airlines Hangar for the then unopened Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.  It was Grandpa’s job to make sure that the United hangar was ready for business when the airport opened up.  It was while Grandpa and all the family were there that my Mom and Dad met and got married!

When I was born, my Grandma and Grandpa were living in Buffalo, NY, where Grandpa was in charge of the hangar at the airport there.  I don’t remember Buffalo much because I was young, but my Grandma always told the story that I would be off somewhere, and they would find me playing with the toads that I would find over by the cellar windows outside.

After Buffalo, my Grandpa was stationed at the last airport he worked at before retirement — Newark, located in Newark, NJ.  My Grandparents lived in Berkeley Heights, NJ, and I remember our trips north to visit Grandma and Grandpa there.  It was then that Grandpa and I started forging our bond.  We would go to the airport and look at the planes land from the observation deck — back in the days when you could go to the airport, park, and watch planes all day if you wanted to!

Grandpa had so much knowledge about the airplanes.  He would look at one and say — there’s a DC-10, or a 727, or a 737, or, of course, a 747.  It was great to see him in action, and I learned a few things about planes back then.

In October 1978, I believe it was, Grandpa retired, and Grandma and he began their last move — to Port Richey, Florida!  It was there that my fun with Grandma and Grandpa would begin in earnest!

In 1979 My Mom, sister Robin, and I flew down to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Dad was a self-employed cabinetmaker, so unfortunately he didn’t have much time off, so he stayed behind.

It was during that summer visit that I got my first visit to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom!  I’ve forgotten some of the details, but the one thing that I never forgot was what I wrote about for my friend Donna from DISTherapy for her 40 days to 40 years project in 2011:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

After that first summer, my Grandma and Grandpa started asking if I wanted to visit with them during the summer months when school was out.  Hello!  Of course I said yes!  I remember the first time I drove down with them, and I had been visiting for a while when my Grandpa said, “Mickey, when do you think you want to go back home?”  I thought for a while, then I said something to the affect that school started September 5th, so I guess I needed to be home a couple of days before so I could get school clothes.  I think my Grandpa thought I was homesick, but how could I be?  I had my buddy with me!  And did I mention it was Florida?!

Grandpa and I did so many things together.  We took care of the neighbor’s pool together — so we could swim in it.  We learned how to swim together.  We would go to the library and check out a book on a particular swimming stroke, and we would read a page by the pool, then go check it out in the water to see how it worked.  During that summer, we learned all the major swimming strokes!

We would go to the beach together while Grandma was playing Bridge with the ladies.

My Grandpa was — and is — an inspiration to me to this day.  He and Grandma lived through so many things — the Great Depression, wars, the Cold War, uncertainty, illness — yet they never wavered from who they were, and what they believed.  That is a lesson for all of us in this day and age.

My Mom is the oldest of my Grandma and Grandpa’s three children.  When she was one or two years old, she got bitten by a mosquito and became extremely ill.  My Mom had to learn how to talk again, and she had to learn how to walk again.  Through all of that, my Grandma and Grandpa were there, helping her, guiding her along as she learned the things she needed to learn again.  My Grandpa would work with her when he got home from work — all the patience in the world.  Infinitely more patience then I have, that’s for sure.

We are all miracles, but I think some of us are a little more of a miracle then others.  When I think back on how sick my Mom was as a baby, just the fact that Robin and I were even able to come into this world is a testament to God’s Power and Strength — and his Mercy.  Carry that forward, and it is obvious to me that Sophie is a miracle of her own — so tiny, such a little baby, but now an 11 year old.  None of us are perfect, that is certain, but the blessings we have — in my mind, they outweigh the problems we have so much, if we just choose to see them.

At the end, my Grandpa passed away the way I think we all would like to pass on — at home, in his bed, with his family by his side, singing him Happy Birthday one last time.  My Grandpa was born on September 4, 1913, and he passed away on September 4, 2011, and the tender age of 98.

Gone…but never, EVER, forgotten.  I love you Grandpa.

My friend Heidi is the inspiration behind the Friendship Friday series for me!  She even lets me link up with her site each week!  Click on the image below to see what friend she is highlighting today, and thanks for stopping by!