"The song is ended, but the melody lingers on." (Irving Berlin)
Today would have been my dad’s 81st birthday as “Joe” which means it’s his 1st birthday, in this lifetime, in Spirit. That’s something to celebrate!
In fact, while family and friends will be gathering in Canada next month to celebrate his life nearly a year after he stepped through the veil, today it feels aligned to celebrate with you through my words. Words which will perhaps share some of the special qualities he brought to so many people and situations. Ways of being human which I sense may resonate with you as well.
Without further ado, let’s flow into the celebrations now, shall we?
My dad had an effortless ability to connect with people and set them at ease. I remember sitting with him in countless restaurants over the years as he would naturally calm a frazzled/nervous/awkward server with his infectious warm smile, maybe a fist pump or even a little joke and one of his knee slaps followed by “you bandit” or “you son of a gun”. Terms of endearment that weren’t always clear to the person receiving them, but would still land easily enough with the loving energy behind them.
My dad could shift the energy into ‘It’s Us, together in this little moment’ and it was felt.
Part of that shift came through with his ability to laugh at himself.
Like in that restaurant scenario, that same unsuspecting server had no idea upon returning later with dad's food and the offer of “freshly ground pepper" that he would be churning those peppercorns out for a really long time. Joe would wait quietly until his meal was the colour of charcoal all the while giving a little wink and chuckling and sometimes adding his typical lines of “Just keep it coming!” and “Don’t slow down now!” as the pepper piled up. He had a way of bringing a playfulness to each connection.
My dad had an uncanny ability see the potential in things that others would pass right over or discard. Not only could he see the potential in these thrown aside things, but his engineering mind was aware that a moment would arise when he would start rummaging through the layers of his saved bits-and-pieces tucked in his tightly packed garage to put that bit of metal/wood/sponge/pipe/etc. into use. He would up-cycle his found treasures and transform them into that much needed specific bike part, or put them towards a home repair and most often, use them in his building projects at the lake cabin he loved so much.
The love he had for his cabin was tied tightly to this love he had for flowing his innate creativity into his various up-cycling projects.
Many of the items he found and treasured for later use in projects were discovered on the side of the highway on the 2 1/2 hours journey to and from the cabin. I remember as a child feeling the van suddenly slow and turn to the side of the road and lurch to a stop. Next thing I would be running to pick up whatever object lay in the ditch that had caught my dad’s raven-like eye. Of course, this activity soon grew unbearable once I hit my tweens and refused to be his road-side treasure runner.
This journey from “trash” to “purposeful-treasure” became even more valuable to him because it also provided him a whole new stories to tell everyone. And this brings us to a natural segue way into our final Celebration here today.
Something I am guessing you would miss as much as I do if you knew my dad was his incredible gift for storytelling which often had an off-shoot of inappropriate joke telling. (By inappropriate, I mean that his jokes were often told out-right to the absolutely wrong person or shared with a big smile at the wrong time - or a combination of these two).
This of course made it funnier for the rest of us around and yet magically, his infectious laughter and warm arm around the shoulder would set everyone at ease (see Celebration #1).
This ease played into his stories in which he was often the hero with statements like “Then I told the Walmart manager, your flyer said 50% off soya milk this week, and then the manager apologised and told me that I was absolutely right - once again!”
Of course, these hero stories were always so filled with entertainment and enthusiasm that they were endearing and they live on with his Spirit. Dad's storytelling showed me that we can be our own hero and re-story our moments to be at ease in our life. His stories were creative and brought a smile for those around which brings me joy to share and celebrate his life story out with you today.
Dad, I celebrate you and want you to know that you’re always the hero of the story for me.
I’m so proud to be your daughter and to experience elements of these qualities that I admire so much in you as they show up in their own way now through me. I celebrate the hero you have been for each one reading these words today, your first birthday in Spirit. Thanks for reminding us that all our unique celebratory ways live on when we step out of body and across the veil.
As you’d often say to me - and to so many people in your beauty-full life - as we would part ways
(of course after a big warm hug and a strong peck on the check):