Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dickie!

I was going to post this last Wednesday, but discovered I didn’t have the photo on my laptop. I’m back in Woodbury for the weekend, and here it is.

My dad turned 85 on January 14. (The joke in the family is that the date is also Benedict Arnold’s birthday). More often than not, I call my dad...Dad. But to all my friends, extended family, his granddaughter, and soon his great granddaughter, he is Dickie. And I call him Dickie sometimes myself. He has for years now been calling me “Sonny Boy.” He didn’t start doing it until I was a father myself and it was a fairly inappropriate diminutive, and therefore characteristic family humor. A terrific natural athlete, Dickie exercises fairly seriously three mornings a week and is in excellent physical shape. He’s the one who taught me how to throw and catch, and he beat me at 60 yards when I was a fairly quick 16 and he was 40. He is also generous, a wonderful host (he has what I once saw described by an English writer as “idiomatic good manners”), and exceptionally kind and considerate. I, of course, argue the alternative and join the family circle and close friends in teasing him about being a cheapskate (which he is in small things—as they say, he throws nickels around like manhole covers). So it goes, and so I hope it goes for many more years.

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