Friday, June 25, 2010

A tribute to my father - today is his birthday

I was working with my Dad in the hot sun for over two hours before I realized it was his birthday.  I stopped and said “Hey Dad….h-h-h-appy birthday.”  When the words came out I was still counting days…24th, 25th ?!!!  hoping that tomorrow was his actual birthday and praying it wasn’t yesterday.  I loose track of days in the summer.  

Let me tell you a little bit about my Dad. 

He is wonderful.   I feel very blessed to have him as a parent.  

He has the most amazing Baritone voice.  In college I studied vocal performance.  After college I sang with the symphony.  I heard a lot of wonderful Baritones.  But no one came even close to his rich full tone.  When I was little he would sing us to sleep at night.  One of our favorite songs was a German folk song “Weisst du wieviel Sternlein stehen” translation “Do you know home many little stars there are?”  I memorized the whole thing even though I didn’t speak German.  I moved to Germany years later and heard the song again.  I got all teary eyed – homesick for my family- but also I realized that I understood all the lyrics.  (For now we see through a glass darkly.)

When I graduated from college I had to do a senior recital.  I sang in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.  I chose some beautiful German duets to do with my father.  At one of my final voice lessons (after about 10+ years of voice lessons) my teacher said; “Just do it like your Dad!  He is doing it perfectly.” 

It is true.  Every time he sings people ask if he is or was a professional singer.  I could practice 10,000 hours and never be a good as he is.  I’m not jealous.  I’m very proud of him and grateful I inherited a tiny part of his amazing talent. 

When we were little my Dad would tell stories about growing in“The Pond.”  Apparently my parents had their first kiss near the botany ponds at BYU.   My father claims that my mom was walking past and reached down to the water and kissed him.  You see.....he was a frog……and then she turned him into a prince!  We heard all kinds of pond life stories.  If we complained about eating homemade macaroni (We wanted KRAFT) my dad would tell us about eating flies and water skeeters as a young frog. It was his version of "uphill both ways with no shoes."

The frog post may be a sign that my Dad is a little eccentric.  It is true.  He is ½ crazy.  He is obsessive compulsive about saving things.  Old letters.  My kindergarten report card.  Things he finds on the side of the road. etc.  We love him anyway.  

My Dad is incredibly smart.  When he was in medical school scored higher on his anatomy final than any Creighton Medical student ever had.  He knows virtually everything about history, plants, geology and medicine.   Last year I was reading a book which made me feel very ignorant of European history.  (I only took Music History in college.)  One day on a long hike  I made my Dad tell me everything about European history including the Ottoman Empire, the Great War, WWII up to present time.  I was amazed at how much he knows.  Now that I"m 30 I'm eager to listen to him.  As opposed to when I was a teenager and thought he knew NOTHING.  sigh.

I’ve learned so much from my dad over the years.   Thanks for helping me prune my bushes this morning and happy birthday! 




Seventh Child said...

Great post Joanie, all true!
We love you Daddy!
Happy Birthday!

Cal said...

haha. Your Dad sounds so cool. I just read to Grant the part about your Dad being a frog. So hilarious!

Evenstar said...

We have a wonderful Dad!

The Blind Spot said...

Yes, family is the best! This post is very sweet, too. Too bad, I don't remember him that well (maybe because I felt a little airsick ;) And you look gorgeous in that photo where you sing. What a beautiful dress. I've never seen you on stage. Schade!

The Queen Prawn said...

Our Dad is the Best Dad in the World.
His voice is amazing. I know it is impossible but I would like it if my future husband had a voice like his. Once we were stuck in Kanab for a weekend and we went to a local sacrament meeting. We got there late and sat in the back. Afterward, a man came up from the front and asked Dad if he wanted sing in the choir. :)
I remember also when he would take me with him on errands when I was little, just the two of us and he would teach me all about the different names for animals, their babies and about plants while we drove around.
I love you, Daddy!