“Happy Birthday Pop!”

Happy Birthday Pop!

Today is my dad’s birthday. He’s now 87 years young! Sure he’s got some aches and pains, and the cartilage in his knees has all but worn away, but otherwise his health is good, his heart is strong and he’s still ornery as ever. He’s certainly not as light on his feet as he used to be, but with the help of his trusty cane, he still manages to get around.

One thing that does gives him a bit of a problem is getting in and out of his car. That’s right, he’s still driving. DMV in their infinite wisdom just renewed his license for another year. Actually he’s a pretty good driver. He should be, that’s how he made a living. For nearly 40 years he drove a truck for San Gabriel Valley Lumber Company and Arcadia Lumber and never had an accident. Well that’s not entirely true, he never had an accident involving another vehicle that I’m aware of, but he did lose a full load of lumber down the side of a hill in Duarte once. It even made the Daily Tribune complete with photos!

Yeah, I’ve got some great memories of going to work with my dad especially during the summer months, we’d hit the road, really early before sun up, pick up his truck and trailer and head off to make deliveries to San Diego, Yucca Valley or Crestline. Sometimes my grandpa would join us. We always stopped for breakfast at some out of the way truckstop where the food was always delicious! Good times.  My dad definitely drives a lot slower now, but he stays off the freeways and drives only to go shopping, when visiting and when he goes out to see his girlfriend.

Uh-Huh, that’s right, 87 and he has a lady friend. She’s a wonderful woman and an excellent companion for my dad. We lost my mom nearly twenty years ago. The first few years were very tough on dad, they’d been married 40 years and he was very lonely. Most days we could find him at the cemetery sitting in his folding chair next to my moms grave, listening to his portable radio and reading. My sister and I were very worried about him, then he met his lady friend and in time things got better.

His long life comes as no surprise really, his father lived to the ripe old age of 95 and a few of his aunts lived well into their 90’s! One is still alive. My dad has never smoked and pretty much stopped drinking at around age 50, and as I said, his health is good so conceivably this birthday boy could have a whole lot more birthday’s coming his way. Maybe.

Unfortunately, there is one area of my dad’s life that is a cause for concern and gives him much undue stress. Like families everywhere ours is burdened with a black sheep, a big, bad, black sheep. My 49 year old, brother, an active alcoholic, who has been unemployed for years, has attached himself to my father and like a young infant to a nipple, won’t let go, slowly sucking the life out of my dad, emotionally as well as financially.

Sadly, my brother shows absolutely no desire to be rehabilitated.. All he cares about is himself. For example, he knows that management doesn’t want him at my dad’s mobile home or anywhere in the park yet he refuses to leave, poor baby says he’s got no place else to go. He knows that my dad could be evicted if he doesn’t leave, but he just doesn’t care. He continues to stay there, day after day, moaning and complaining about how sick he is, unwilling to do anything to help himself, drowning his sorrows with alcohol because drinking is all he knows how to do. Drinking and taking handouts from my father. He does both so well. What a waste. My dad worked hard all his life and doesn’t deserve the grief. My brother will probably be my dad’s undoing..

Well Pops, let’s hope and pray that 2011 will be a better year for you. Let’s hope that Teddy Boy comes to his senses and at long last gets the help he needs. What a wonderful birthday present that would be!

Happy Birthday Dad!

I hope you have an incredible Day!

Love you,

J S

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