Happy 90th Birthday to You, Dad!

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Father and SonToday, August 6, 2015, my Dad is celebrating his birthday. But this isn’t just another birthday for him. This is his 90th birthday. That’s right, my Dad is entering his 10 decade of life here on earth.

It’s hard to believe.

Wow, Dad, so many memories. So many good times. So many accomplishments. So many games of Cribbage.

You, Dad, are a modest, unassuming and relatively quiet man, but to me, your family, relatives, friends and colleagues, your character has always spoken volumes. You have always been someone others can trust. A real man of your word. You have always been caring and kind to not just those who know you, but to even complete strangers. You have always treated everyone with the utmost respect. And because of all that and for countless other reasons, you have always been looked up to and admired not just by me, Mom, Tom and Cathy, but by everyone who has ever had the pleasure of knowing you.

You are not just my Dad, you are the quintessential role model.

I used to belong to a public speaking group called Toastmasters. One of the speeches I wrote in Toastmasters was about my Dad. In fact, he’s actually heard me give this speech twice, once at Toastmasters and a second time at his 80th birthday party. And then less than three weeks ago, at our annual family reunion, I read the following part of it to him again…

As I approached college age, I became a rebel of sorts. I listened to loud music, stayed out late and hung out with a rough crowd. Yeah, my late teens meant not always getting along with my Dad. In retrospect, he had every reason to disown me — which, of course, he didn’t, thankfully.

Instead, Dad demonstrated great patience. And stick-to-itiveness. In fact, I’ve never seen him give up on anything or anybody. He has taught me the virtues of being honest, loyal, conscientious and persistent. He has been generous when others may have chosen to be greedy. He has always said, “What can I do for you?” when others might have asked, “What’s in it for me?” He has always spoken softly and carried a big stick. And some of that, I hope, has rubbed off onto me.

And so, as a tribute to my Dad, and all Dads everywhere, I would like to quote from a book by Leo Buscaglia entitled Papa, My Father, A Celebration Of Dads, in which he speaks about his late father. My dad’s still alive, thank God, and this excerpt does not relate specifically to him, but it does serve as a rather eloquent pronouncement of what my dad means to me.

“Papa never climbed Everest or made the Guinness Book of World Records. He never read the classics or saw an original painting by Braque. He was proud, self-taught, and left no debts. If he had any hidden dreams, other than of being a good man, a committed father, and a loving husband, no one ever knew about them. If deep regrets, fears, or personal doubts tormented him, he never stated them. I am aware that years of having known and loved my father have transformed him from Papa, the simple human being, into Papa, the near saint. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with that.”

Happy Birthday, Dad. Happy Birthday to the “near saint” to me, your family, your relatives, your friends and everyone who has ever known you. I love you.

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2 Responses to Happy 90th Birthday to You, Dad!

  1. David Hazeltine says:

    Such an awesome tribute, Bob. It’s too bad you guys don’t look alike (yeah, right)! It’s been 22 years since I lost my Dad – you are SO fortunate to still have him in your life, but I guess you know that. My dad was also my the quintessential role model; I think of him and hear his mantras for life almost every day.

    One of my favorite quotes is… “A father is neither the anchor that holds us back, nor the sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.”

    Happy (belated) birthday, Mr. Cargill. The two of you are very luck to have each other.

    Onward,
    DH

  2. Bob Cargill says:

    Thank you very much, David, for taking the time to read my tribute to my Dad. I am sorry you lost your Dad so long ago, but he clearly made a big positive difference on you and your life.

    Bob