Happy Birthday, Daddy (and the USA too)

Daddy and His Twin Sister

Daddy and his twin sister

My dad, his twin sister, and my country, the United States of America all share a birthday, July 4.

And Daddy owned this holiday. He loved everything about it – parades, picnics, fireworks. The standing joke in the family was Daddy saying “These are my fireworks, but I’ll share them with you.”

Our favorite place to watch fireworks was Fairhope, Alabama on the cliff overlooking Mobile Bay. I’ve seen fireworks in most of the other states, Europe (though not for July 4) and Asia (not for July 4 there either) but that same spot on the cliff overlooking the bay is still my favorite spot to see fireworks (that and Universal Studios parking lot when my brother and I worked there, but they don’t let you do that any more).

One of Daddy’s favorite songs was “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and he taught me that one when I was barely old enough to talk. We sang it every Fourth of July and every patriotic occasion in between.

The 4th of July after Daddy died my aunts and uncles (Daddy’s brothers and sister) called and said “We’re coming over.” Not “may we come” or “do you mind if we come” they just came, not wanting Mom and me to be alone that first Fourth of July. And it was a good thing. They brought all of Daddy’s (and our) favorite picnic food, I had tons of cousins to play with and it was not the horrendous holiday we were dreading, but a family celebration just like always except Daddy wasn’t there. But it felt like he was. Everyone had a story, many of them I hadn’t heard of how it was when they were rambunctious kids growing up, funny stories that made us laugh. When the fireworks started, we really felt him not being there, but almost at the same moment we looked at each other and said “These are really Allen’s/Uncle Allen’s/Daddy’s fireworks, but he’ll share them with us” and then we laughed and it was all right.

Thanks Julie Duclos for a glimpse of Fairhope fireworks when I can’t be there.

Happy birthday, Daddy. I love and miss you. Look forward to seeing your fireworks. Thanks for sharing them with us. Hugs and love.