"One hundred bottles of beer on the wall, one hundred bottles of beer, you take one down, you pass it around, ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall..." Did you sing this silly song when you went on school trips or was that just the kids at my school who inevitably burst into this little ditty whenever we hopped on a bus? For some reason, I thought of this as we celebrated my father's 70th birthday this weekend. My dad received the perfect gift for a beer aficionado such as he: 70 different beers from around the world.
As soon as we had all arrived at my parents' place for his birthday dinner, we sent him down to the wine cellar to get the beer. Everyone waited with cameras in hand to see his reaction. And this is what he saw when he opened the door. A whole heck of a lot of beer!
|Dad reading one of his cards.|
|The traditional spaghetti and meatball birthday dinner. Just as I always have boeuf bourguignon on my birthday, my dad has spaghetti on his.|
|No, Dad, I'm pretty sure there aren't 70 candles on the cake! In the forefront is a lemon meringue pie, which is also a birthday tradition.|
My dad is a very cool guy. You'd never know by looking at him that he's 70, I'd say he looks at least ten years younger. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he's always been into sports and has never stopped working out. On even the coldest day in February you'll find him heading for Gatineau Park to do some cross-country skiing (there's no way I could ever hope to keep up with him).
As a dedicated high-school teacher he coached football and, later on, my son's soccer team. In his youth, my dad was even scouted by an NHL farm team. But my dad isn't just a great athlete, he's also quite brilliant. Dad had a long career as a high-school math teacher and he definitely has a remarkable math brain, but that doesn't mean that he's only interested in all things math. He also has a very creative and artistic side which shows up in his many interests. Just take a look at the incredibly beautiful gardens he designs. He can put together a bouquet of flowers like nobody's business! Also, he taught himself to read and speak German and to play the saxophone. He is interested in the world around him and always learning new things. I'm sure that's a big part of what keeps him young.
I inherited a few things from Dad: my blue eyes and fair skin, for instance. My love of travel and of nature, my competitiveness and perfectionism. (I'm working on that last one.) However, much to his dismay, I most definitely did not inherit his math brain. And I'm pretty sure my talent for dance didn't come from him!
But at his very core, the thing that defines my father the most is his enduring love for his family. He would do anything for his wife, daughters and grand-children, of that I am absolutely certain.
So, who wants a beer? I think my dad has one or two to spare.