Today would have been Dad’s 81st birthday. I never expected my father to live that far into old age, as I always suspected his nearly lifelong smoking habit would catch up to him sooner rather than later. Despite being diagnosed with COPD and emphysema he never suffered the severe consequences of those diseases. He wasn’t one of those people who needed to carry an oxygen tank with him or who could not walk a few steps without getting out of breath. He remained in decent physical shape until the last few months of his life. It was the parts of his brain that stopped working properly that caused him the biggest health-related issues.
Today is a beautiful spring day where I live. Okay the pollen that has covered everything in town with a yellow dust isn’t so pretty but the experts claim that doesn’t cause the bad allergy reactions. I wasn’t going to let a little pollen stop me from honoring Dad’s birthday. I took a walk through the park, imagining how much Dad would have enjoyed such beautiful scenery. I visited the lake with the ducks and a pair came right up on the platform where I was for awhile before honking and taking off. I always enjoy seeing the ducks as it reminds me of happy childhood memories of visiting the park with my parents and feeding the ducks. And those honks made me think of Dad’s impersonations of Donald Duck that I loved so much as a little girl.
Next I finally made it to the Titanic exhibit. I know Dad would have loved to see the old photographs and recovered items from the world’s most famous ship. You receive a boarding pass with a name of an actual Titanic passenger with your ticket. At the end of the exhibit you get to see if “your” passenger survived or perished. Sadly, my passenger was Mrs. Benjamin Peacock who perished along with her two small children. They were coming to America to join Mr. Peacock who had already arrived in the U.S. the year before and was awaiting their arrival in New Jersey. The whole family was supposed to travel together but the wife was ill at the time and so her husband went on ahead of the family until she was well enough to travel. Sadly, that coincided with the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
I’m going to wrap up the day with an Irish whiskey toast. Last year I had just started a new job so I didn’t have time to honor Dad’s 80th birthday properly. Today I felt Dad’s presence with me throughout the day and I’m glad I was able to mark Dad’s birthday in a special way.