December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Papa Rads!

My dad is difficult to explain if you haven't ever met him. Whenever I meet new friends I always give it a try, but you cannot really understand until you have had a conversation with him. He's quirky, weird, loving, contemplative, sarcastic, witty, a rapid fire typist, an encyclopedia of baseball stats and lyrics....and so much more. Let me attempt to explain....
He loves baseball more than most people I know. He doesn't just love the Twins, but he loves the game. He appreciates the integrity of players who play the game well - and the gorgeous stadiums they play in, for example, Wrigley Field.
...but beyond just being a sports lover, he is a loyal fan. I think the first time I remember seeing him cry was when Kirby Puckett (former Twins player) passed away. He loves Minnesota sports, and he has always been willing to take us to games. Here's a game from 2008 that I went to with him, my mom and brother Joe.
Beyond sports...he is hilarious. I'm a 22-year-old woman and he's a 50-year-old man, yet all the same things make us laugh. This might be a result of his efforts to stay young and adopt the phrases I get caught up in...for instance this time on the North Shore of Minnesota when I adopted the phrase "Baller!" whenever someone did something really excellent.
My father is a creature of habit. He does his thing every day, goes to work, fully admits there is no way he could survive without my mother, drinks some coffee, and does his very best to fit in some work to his busy schedule of surfing the NY Times website, Bruce Springsteen website, etc. One of his habits - owning the blue thing. Reference the blue thing pictured above. This blue cotton pullover has gotten more wear than any other item of clothing in his closet. He brings it everywhere and refuses to buy a new blue thing, insisting the old one is just fine despite faded color and holes.
And then there's the hat. I think he bought it 6 years ago or so, mostly to wear on our annual North Shore trip. He thinks it makes him look like Greg Brown or Bob Dylan. My mother and I think it makes little children scared when we are out hiking the trails.
He is a pretty darn good Dad though. He is always willing to listen, has advice for anything you could ever ask him, and transfers money to your bank account when you tell him you bought a plane ticket to surprise your mom in New York City. :)
...he's a good Dad. Just crazy sometimes. File this under the "proof he's quirky file".
NO this isn't me! He looked way younger when I was born, don't worry. Along with being a good Dad to me, he is a thoughtful participant in his own family. Unlike many busy people nowadays, he makes a distinct effort to tell people how much he loves them and how much he cares about them. He doesn't assume they know, and he doesn't assume they remember from the last time he said it. He gives his unconditional love without asking for anything in return. He cares deeply about me, my brothers, my mom, his parents, his siblings, his extended family, his in-laws...and my gorgeous goddaughter Stefanie (pictured above).
So he's all about appreciating people and telling them he loves them. However, he isn't all above the Republican love. This blog isn't supposed to be political, and it's not really, but the state of our nation is important to my father. He wants the very best for everyone, including the people in his country. This leads to some very serious discussions and debates where he tends to get long-winded (even if I do agree with him!), but it also leads to some charming email banter on the state of the union and disliked Republicans. It also lead to a 4 minute, 23 second voicemail at 7:15 am on Tuesday, November 7th, 2008 while he described to me his voting experience in a post-G Dubbs era.
My love of lyrics, music and concerts undoubtedly comes from my dad - a man who has been to more Bruce Springsteen shows than I can remember and will pay darn good money for great live shows. When Bruce comes to town he doesn't call me to tell me the ticket price, he calls to tell me when I need to be there. I mean this in the most un-sacrilegious way possible, but in many ways going to see Bruce live is like going to church for my father. He goes to be inspired, to hear that there is something better out there for our world, and that yes friends, we will get there someday.
At the end of the day, he has so many unique character traits he seems like more of a character than just my dad - but I wouldn't have it any other way. Every day with him is exciting and every day with him I feel loved, so to me, he is perfect.
Happy 50th Papa Rads! I love you!!


Jodi said...

Hi Kirstin,

I read your blog and wanted to wish your dad a happy birthday! My name is Jodi Olson & I was Kirby Puckett's fiancee'. Losing Kirby was a devistating blow to me & my family but it brings comfort to hear stories about his loyal fans. I appreciate your dad's loyalty & love for not only Kirby but for the game.

Happy Birthday Papa Rads!!

kirsten said...

Happy birthday Papa Rads!!!!

side note: received your christmas letter in the mail yesterday...right away i could tell it wasn't your normal signature!

Nicole said...

Holy hannah! Papa rad is 50!??!!


Happy Birthday big guy! :)

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