Wednesday, November 14, 2007

eugene is 90

He was born in 1917 on the plains of western Kansas. He lived through the flu epidemic, flappers, Prohibition, the Great Depression. He survived the Dust Bowl in the very heart of it, and the memory of Black Sunday can still bring him to tears.

Classical music moves him beyond any other. He was a brilliant student in a one room schoolhouse who went on to achieve many degrees and to have a distinguished career as a research chemist. His doesn't brag about the many patents he holds. He won't talk much about his World War II service except to shake his head and marvel at the remarkable resiliency of the Japanese.

He built us a bomb shelter at the peak of the Cold War. He took us outside as tornadoes passed overhead, enchanted with the power of those destructive storms. He lived through Vietnam, through hippies, through troubled daughters, a wife who abandoned him and a second wife so devoted I am convinced she is an angel.

He has always been humble, always curious, always fascinated by the natural world. He laughs and makes others love him with his warmth and kindness. He can be critical and demanding, and his heart is soft enough to break with an unkind word.

He speaks with just a hint of a German accent. He loves his family and wants, more than anything, for "his people" to be okay. I have fought with him over politics, over my lifestyle, over all manner of things which now seem inconsequential. More than anything I've sought his approval and today, sober and happy, I have it.

My Daddy is 90 today. That's young for a redwood, but it's a ripe old age for a human being. He is forgetful and healthy, and every day he's with us is a gift. I love my papa.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Brion. said...

Happy Birthday, Lynette's 'Papa'!

Give him a BIG hug from me down here in NZ!

November 14, 2007 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Happy Birthday to both of our fathers. Mine turned 73 November 8th. A blessing on both of their houses. Loved this remembrance, and the love that came through with your telling of it. You made me think of my papa, and today, that is a good thing.

November 14, 2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

That's fan-freakin'-tastic. Few have the ability to see their parents as human beings. Good on ya. And happy 90th, Eugene!

November 14, 2007 7:12 PM  
Blogger Big Fella said...

Both you and Eugene are so very fortunate that you have been able to travel so far through life together. I know you cherish him and I know he was able to see you become who you are today, and that must have made him feel very good.

I am a bit envious of you, as I lost my father 35 years ago and we were never able to reconcile with each other. All my best to Eugene on his 90th.

November 14, 2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Happy Birthday, Eugene! My Papa just turned 80, and every holiday I spend with my parents is precious. Your post reminds me of how very much my parents mean to me. Think I'll give them a morning call.

November 15, 2007 6:07 AM  
Blogger Willym said...

Wish you Papa a Happy Birthday from over here in Rome. When you look at what has happened in the world in the past 90 years - and what has happened in his corner of it - you can only marvel at the resilency of the human spirit.

I know from past posts the depth of the love you have for him and her for you. Enjoy the gift of each of those days.

November 15, 2007 7:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Happy Birthday, Eugene.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting you but you certainly raised a fine daughter.

Many happy returns.

November 15, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Oh my god, Lynette, you do have a way of making me verklept. What a beautiful post. Happy Birthday to your Papa!

November 15, 2007 9:53 AM  
Blogger kusala ~ joe said...

Here's to Mr. Eugene's long life and good health! Sending love and best wishes to both of you through the ether.

November 15, 2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger David said...

Happy Birthday, Eugene.

November 15, 2007 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Mark H said...

Your OWN maturity's showing here.... It IS fantastic at 90 he's still clear minded enough that you two can see clearly why you have loved this father. The longer they live, the more WE grow up and understand some of the things they did when younger that didn't always please us. I knew my Dad loved his kids, and knew I was lucky he lived long enough for me to mature enough to understand and love him back. You've written quite the love card for him..........thanks for letting us meet Eugene.

November 15, 2007 12:58 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

what a wonderful picture you've painted of your daddy. He sounds like a stand-up gentleman. Good thoughts to him!

November 15, 2007 1:10 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

you are all so sweet. i've passed on your good wishes to my daddy, who hasn't a clue about "internets" and the tubes and all of that. :-) you are such sweethearts. thank you, thank you.

November 15, 2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

"He laughs and makes others love him with his warmth and kindness."

As do you my dear...as do you!

Happy Belated Birthday to this wonderful man, your papa.

November 16, 2007 4:46 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Well bless his heart! A belated wish for you Mr. Eugene.. may your physical health continue to be excellent.

November 18, 2007 9:38 AM  
Anonymous ewe said...

What a blessing for you. that is wonderful.

November 18, 2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous tater said...

Will Eugene be 91 before we get another post from you?

I know, I know, me=bitch. ;)

November 20, 2007 8:08 AM  
Blogger Da Nator said...

Happy belated birthday, Eugene! I'm so glad you have the blessing of having him around, still sharp enough to share your love.

November 20, 2007 11:33 PM  
Blogger farmboyz said...

Have a great holiday, Missy.

November 21, 2007 3:31 PM  

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