Today in history... (ok, yesterday actually, because I'm talking about May 24)
1686 - Gabriel Fahrenheit, German physicist and engineer was born
1819 - Queen Victoria was born
1883 - Brooklyn Bridge opens in New York after 14 years of construction
1893 - The Niagara Fall Park and River Railway opens in Ontario
1938 - Tommy Chong was born
1941 - Bob Dylan was born
1944 - Patti LaBelle was born
1946 - Wayne Henry Ball was born
Yes, my dad, my hero, turned 60. Sixty. Six tens. Sixty ones. 600 tenths. 6 plus 2 times my age. Thirty times Maya's age.
Wow, that's a big number.
My dad is a pretty cool guy, ahead of his time, really. He was hip to the computer scene way before PCs were a big thing. Dad had the foresight to impart his computer knowledge to us kids, even bringing the Commodore 64 on camping trips, not letting us out to play until we'd done our computer lessons. He was into the Internet when it was still just bulletin boards. He's hiked the West Coast Trail 3 times, once a decade since the '70s. And now that they've got the wheelchair ramps installed, I'm sure my dad is ready to hike it again.
Dad's a pretty funny guy, too. He laughed eventually after Andrea and I (as kids) taped ourselves fighting and then played it on her ghetto blaster full volume. He came down the hallway, stomping his feet, doing the Wayne Nostril Breathe of Anger. He entertained us all in Parksville, showing us just how fragile wooden badminton rackets are by breaking each one over his knee. He even coined the Ball family phrase "p 'n s" (pound and swear), which is what often happens after a particularly enigmatic computer afternoon.
He taught us to work hard at everything we do. He taught us to commit to what we do, and to follow through on every one of our commitments. He taught us the value of family time spent together. He took us on the COOLEST family vacations in the beloved White Whale ('77 F250 long box), everywhere from Edmonton to Tofino to Disneyland and even the ever-popular family vacation spot, Las Vegas. Even though I'm sure he was sick of Ramona and Anastasia Krupnik and Amelia Bedelia, he would sit and read to me every night. Dad would sit patiently for hours while I set his hair in curlers, plastic barrettes, and the like. These days, I've watched him become the greatest Grandpa in the world.
Happy Birthday, Dad! I hope you've had a great 60 years.