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Happy Birthday, Dad

November 6, 2014

As you might guess from the title, this is going to be another personal post. If that’s not your bag and you’re just here for the books, I totally understand. I’ll see you tomorrow for another look at Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

scan0023Today is my Dad’s birthday. What you might not know if you don’t know me personally is that Dad passed away four years ago. The anniversary is also in November. That’s part of the reason I try to stay so busy this month, it’s a rough one for me.
Today, I want to tell you a little bit about my Dad and what I’m doing today.
Dad was unique. I think all people are special in their own way, but I’ve really never met anyone quite like my Dad. As my friend Benji puts it, “Arthur was a unicorn.” He would have liked that.
First of all, my Dad was, at one point, a butler. Yep, I got to go to school and tell other kids that my Dad buttled for a living. And then refuse to tell them what that meant. (I was a snot.)
silverNext, my dad was a very snappy dresser. He had shoes like Imelda Marcos had shoes. His closet was arranged by color and he had  a custom built tie rack. He liked china, and crystal, and silver. He had full service for twelve in his silver pattern, repousse. It’s one of the most ornate patterns you can get these days. And that should tell you something about my father.
He was gay. It wasn’t ever a really big part of our lives. He never introduced me to a boyfriend. I didn’t even know for sure until I was seventeen. I’m not sure why he didn’t tell me before, but he didn’t. He was always looking for “the one,” but he was pretty sure that he’d had him and lost him back in the ’70’s. That’s a hard thing.
My Dad liked things that were expensive, elegant, and French. Or at the very least English. American was ok, but French was always better. He loved Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. He cooked amazingly well and actually owned a catering business at one point. The thing I remember most about that was filling the pastry puffs because I had the smallest hands.
The most meaningful thing my father ever said to me was that he loved me more than his luggage. (He collected Louis Vuitton, so that was a pretty important thing to tell me.)
I’ll talk about his death some other time, but today I want to celebrate his life.
IMG_0944He wasn’t always the easiest man to be around. He was bi-polar and unmedicated for most of my childhood. That was problematic. But he was amazing at making these huge, lavish gestures for people who don’t get them often enough.
He once bought barbecue for the entire staff at Fresh Market because there was a fundraiser for a cancer charity outside that day.
He used to bring the baristas at his Starbucks breakfast from somewhere else because he assumed they were tired of what they had.
He bought his dogs sausage biscuits ever morning and took Godiva chocolates to the folks at the store where he got his watch repaired.
photoWhen I turned fifteen he was running an assisted living facility in Florida. He got ever single resident to send me a birthday card. I got three USPS tubs full of mail on my birthday at boarding school.
He didn’t know how to do things small.

This year, I don’t have time to take the day off and have a celebration. I’ve done that a few other years, but I think Dad would approve. I’m going in to work at the school where I’ll check out books to kids and have a story time. Then, tonight, I’m going to be participating in the Birmingham Art Crawl, selling my jewelry. Dad always loved a good piece of jewelry. If I’ve got time, I’ll slip down to the Urban Standard and pick up a cupcake. I’ve got some candles at home and I know just the wish he’d make.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2014 9:39 am

    This is beautiful Sara! Your dad was beyond fabulous and he obvoiously loved you to the moon and back. Happy Birthday Arthur!

    -Benji

  2. November 6, 2014 1:01 pm

    Sorry for you loss, Sara. My dad also had a November birthday, and he passed away just a couple of years ago, so I understand what you say about November being a tough month. Thanks for sharing.

  3. November 6, 2014 2:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us Sara. What a beautiful tribute. Happy Birthday Arthur.

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