It is absolutely, unequivocally unfathomable to me that if my dad were still alive he would be 111 today! That makes me feel older that my own age does. He was 53 years plus when I was born. His three-packs-a-day habit of cigarette smoking ended up killing him in the forms of emphysema and congestive heart failure almost 21 years later, but I don’t want to dwell on the morose stuff.
Instead, I just want to smile at the memories I have of him making chipmunk noises through his teeth and getting my friends to laugh. My Dad and I had so many good talks in those few years we spent alone together after my mother died. I wish I’d written his stories down, especially the shocker about him having been engaged to another woman once before he broke it off! What was up with that whole thing? It’s just so weird how a person’s twists and turns in life make all the difference in their children’s existence.
Dad was born on September 10, 1903, with a trail of names: August Frank Joseph Lauren Baldwin! Back then perhaps this was common. I imagine his mother getting upset with him and yelling out all five names. That would have been quite the mouthful. And since Dad had five other siblings, I doubt she would have been able to keep that string of names in order if she’d given each child an abundance of names.
Anyway, I hope wherever he is right now, he’s happy. A few months after he died, I dreamt he was on a boat fishing with family who had passed before him. He had a huge grin on his face. Sometimes I like to think he’s close in spirit. Once in awhile I’ll get a good whiff of cigarette smoke, and it’s unexplainable really. I can understand that being in a car, you can smell cigarettes from smokers in other cars, but the cigarettes I smell are in the house where no one smokes. So I like to think that he’s around. I know he’d love Oregon as he always loved the rain. But no Yankees? That wouldn’t work.
So Happy 111th Birthday to my Augie Doggie Daddy (thanks to the Augie Doggie cartoon character in my childhood). I will forever love and miss this dear sweet man.