I have been so busy of late with work-related matters that I almost let my dad's birthday slip by yesterday. He is now 62 years young, and still going strong. Here, I repeat one of my early blogs from November of 2007, about 2 months before we found out he had cancer and he began the biggest battle of his life against a formidible foe. But he ultimately won, and is still cancer-free today. I know this much: not all superheroes wear capes. I love you, my daddy-O!
Today is a most special day - my father's birthday. In the lingo of his greaser days, he's a real gone Hep-Cat, a rockin' Daddy-O. How in the world to explain the coolness of a man who, like so many others of his generation, started work while he was in high school, supported a wife and daughter soon after high school, worked his way up through the ranks at an oil tool company by taking whatever shift was offered him, and taking classes at UH downtown whenever he could to allow him better opportunities so he could better support his family? And, contrary to so many others of his generation, remained true to himself and his family (though "the times, they were a'changin'"), became even more cool as the decades flew by, and never embarrassed his only child, even when she was a teenager, by being anything less than hip? The only way to explain to people who are not fortunate enough to know him is to simply say, "He's my daddy Douglas".
Who could have known that the rebel greaser with a treasured black 1958 Chevy (which saw many races down Jackrabbit Road, later known as FM 1960) who didn't do so well in English and Spanish in high school (promting his mother to tell him since he obviously couldn't understand either language, he should just hush up!) would so soon become a responsible family man who shouldered much more than many men ever do, and did it with determination and grace, teaching his child the most important lessons a father could pass on. His thirst for knowledge became mine; his determination to succeed against formidable odds became mine; his love of sports - well, I guess two out of three ain't bad! And his love of music - OH! His love of music.
Imagine growing up in a home filled with music, wonderful music. From The Doors to The Rolling Stones; from Creedence Clearwater Revival to the Beatles.....the soundtrack of my parents' lives became the soundtrack of my life. My favorite memories involve them and their music. Not many gals are lucky enough to have a father who is patient enough to pop in a four-track (yes, you read that right, there is...er, was such a thing) of the 1910 Fruitgum Company just so his daughter can hear "Simon Says" for the umpteenth time while rolling down the highway in his 1966 Ford truck (souped up with mag wheels and loud exhaust, of course). It takes a special man to let his daughter attend her first concert at age 11, even though he worries she is far too young and naive (and of course, she was), and breathes a sigh of relief when she arrives back home safely from this and so many future outings. It is an incredible thing to be raised by a father with a sense of humor (actually putting a BIKINI on a snowwoman in our front yard during a rare Houston snowfall in 1973), and a keen wit. You have never seen a more patient man teach his daughter chess, poker, the necessity to trust and to be trustworthy, and other important facts of life. The love of education was instilled in me at an early age thanks to dad, and that is something that will remain with me the rest of my days.
Because it's your birthday, dad, here are a couple of musical treats for you. I want you to know that I listen to you, even when you think I don't, and remember our talk a few days ago about Dion and the Belmonts' "I Wonder Why". I hope you enjoy the video, and also your favorite song, "Satisfaction" by your favorite band, The Rolling Stones. For all you have meant to me, and all you will always be to me, I love you.
P.S. Thanks for bailing me out when my car died on the highway last night. Just goes to prove, a girl is never too old to need her daddy, Daddy-O.