Today my dad celebrates his 79th birthday! I remember growing up thinking I had my own personal giant. To me, not only was my dad the tallest man in the whole wide world, but he was also the smartest and the strongest. His energy was endless, he worked at his career, he mended broken things around the house and sometimes even the neighbors’ houses, mowed the lawn, fixed his truck, hung out with his friends and always had time to spend with his family,
I can fondly remember standing on his feet while we danced around the living room to Charlie Pride and Johnnie Mathis or whomever was chosen to entertain us that day. There were times after a long day when my older sister and I were too tired to even walk. With little effort, he would pick me up and seat me around his shoulders, then he would pick up my older sister. With her in his arms and me sitting on his shoulders, arms wrapped tightly around his head, up the road we went, headed for home. On weekends I was his sidekick while he ran errands and sometimes, I accompanied him to cricket matches. I was forever present by his side and earned the name “daddy’s switch key.” We went on family vacations together across the island, and on the days when the nights were cold and raining, the six of us, my mom and dad, my two sisters, my brother and I all crammed into the cab of my dad’s pickup truck. I remember being squeezed into the comfort of his side while Dolly Parton screamed, on the eight-track player, to some woman named “Jolene” not to take her man.
As we grew older, I realized no topics were too difficult for him, he knew everything about everything. Math, English, Chemistry you name it, he had it covered. He was a man who had a way with words. He would start out helping us with our writing assignments for school then ended up completing the whole thing. He would compose poetry that were well written and obviously too illustrative beyond our adolescent years. Our teachers often praised these writings and if they realized a difference in quality between our homework and schoolwork, they never said a word. I was so proud of my daddy, and proud to share him with my friends.
Today he is turning 79 and in size and stature he is hardly the giant he once was. He’s older and frailer and content with spending the majority of his days lounging on the sofa and watching movies made no later than the 1990’s. The TV is way too loud and he’s a little slow in keeping up with the storylines. He doesn’t hear very well but pretends to. He’s a born Jamaican who loves Irish folk songs, go figure. He’s big on inappropriate jokes and he’s forever the great storyteller. He’s still versed on current events and other topics, but I find myself googling to fact check him every now and again. He can still drive but mostly I’m the one driving him around. Still, that’s my dad and I love him dearly and, in my eyes, he’ll always be my giant!
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