09 October 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

When I was in fourth grade, I drew a picture of Snoopy sporting a pair of sunglasses, with the caption, "My dad is Joe Cool." At the tender age of nine, I didn't hesitate to tell the world that my father was my hero.

He still is.

Born on the cusp of the Great Depression, Dad has done amazing things with his life. He mined for gold with his father - using dynamite, no less! He went to UC-Berkeley at age 16 and got his degree in civil engineering. He married my mother soon after graduation, and they're set to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next year.

There is no chemistry, physics, or mathematics problem he can't solve (for which, in my high school years, I was infinitely grateful). Always easy-going, he handles difficult problems - and difficult people - with grace, dignity, and aplomb. He taught me how to throw a curveball, and how to fish. Although, it must be said, his patented fish call of "Here, fishee, fishee, fishee" seemed to work for no one but him!

Today is his 80th birthday. Though it's made him a little grayer, age hasn't diminished him one bit. He's my favorite fishing buddy, my mathematics tutor, my fellow pun-a-holic. He's the man who taught me to do the right thing, even when the right thing wasn't always easy. He's *still* Joe Cool. And he's still my hero.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.