Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:6 (NIV)
Today, we celebrated my dad’s seventy seventh birthday. The real day was last Tuesday, but we had to wait until today because my dad had a full calendar and no time to get together. He had a Civil Air Patrol cadet meeting on Monday, a Deacon’s meeting at church on Tuesday, prayer meeting on Wednesday and a Civil Air Patrol adult meeting on Thursday. Did I mention that he just turned seventy-seven? Such a schedule is typical for my dad who will never retire. Well, officially, he had retired twice, but he will never really retire. He retired as president of a large marine construction company in 1987. His first grandchild, our oldest, had just turned one and travel and responsibilities were interfering with grandpa time. So, he quit. But, after a month or two, he accepted a job at a local engineering company working five days a week for the most part but taking much of the summer off to travel with my mom and whatever grandchild was available to gallivant across the country. When I was growing up, we traveled a lot overseas going wherever his work took him. But, with the grandkids, he preferred getting to know our own country. My sons have been to all the continental states except Rhode Island. They still aren’t quite sure how they missed it. I guess it is littler than we think. Anyway, dad worked for that company for about fifteen years before retiring a second time. He still did not stay unemployed, taking a consulting job with the State of Florida settling disagreements between the government and contractors. Now, he contains his travel to within our state, but he still gets around inspecting the quality of work on roads and bridges. Did I mention that he just turned seventy seven? When he is not working or traveling, he is active in his church, in Civil Air Patrol, and with the alumni group for his High School. Over fifty five years after graduation, they still meet monthly for lunch and to share stories. As busy as he is, he only stops whenever the Florida Gators are playing football. He graduated from that college in 1958 after serving four years in the navy. I was born in March and he got his diploma in June. My mom has a picture of me wearing his graduation cap. So, what to get a man who is always on the go, and who just happens to buy whatever he wants when he wants it. What to give in celebration of a life fully and well lived? I thought about his passions and decided to make him a picture of an alligator out of glass. It turned out surprisingly well, and he liked it, I think. After I fussed at him not to break it. After all, he goes so fast and so hard, there is a good chance it will shatter before he takes the time to sit down and really look at it.