Dad's birthday is tomorrow. He'll be 64 years old. And what a wonderful 64 years it's been. Not always easy, but always wonderful...
Just like George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life.
While it's not Dad's favorite movie (because he doesn't like all the sad parts), he and George are a lot alike.
Dad fell in love with his high school sweetheart, married her, had a family with her, and is still crazy about her over 40 years later. He worked hard at school, went to college for a short time, then went to Vietnam. He came home and started a career, worked hard, and always made time for family and church (thanks in large part to Mom's guiding). He always does the right thing, even if it isn't what he wants to do.
And, oh, the lives he's touched. Just like Clarence the angel from the movie says, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives". The world was a completely different place, a much worse place, without George Bailey in it. And the same goes for Steve Barker.
Dad taught airmen in Vietnam, he teaches Sunday school, he sometimes fills in for the pastor at my church and gives stirring sermons, he sings in a community choir, he's built strong relationships with farmers and growers and businessmen and co-workers through work, he plays Santa for our family and many others at Christmas...and those are just a few of the ways he's surely touched lives.
So, on the eve of my dad's birthday, I give thanks to him for being such a wonderful father, devoted husband, loyal friend, loving brother and son; and I give thanks to God for blessing me and everyone else by putting Dad in our lives.
Happy birthday, Dad!