My father was born on July 10, 1933. He died in 2010. He had a group of work colleagues who were also born in July, and they used to call themselves the SRA Cancer Society. My father did have prostate cancer at one time, but surgery eliminated it completely. He died of Alzheimer’s. He was never one to celebrate his birthday in any obvious way, but he did enjoy fine dining. Fortunately for him, he had the wherewithal to enjoy the very finest. I benefited from the “trickle down effect” of that boon, meaning that I have dined well on his generosity myself. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, we stayed at The Benbow Inn near Garberville, CA. Located on a river in the redwoods, this beautiful resort was established in 1926. My father counted it as one of his favorite places. The first time I went there was on the way north to Oregon for my sister’s wedding. My 9-month old daughter Susan was with me. Ordinarily, children are not allowed in the dining room after 8pm, but the management made an exception for my father, who promised that the baby would be beautifully behaved…and she was. Later that evening, I realized she had a bit of a fever and digestive distress, but that only mellowed her out. The next time I visited the Inn was my father’s 70th birthday. I had begun to notice signs of memory loss and confusion during that trip, but he was completely in his comfort zone at the restaurant. My mother and brother look a bit skeptical in this photo:
I remember the delight he showed in settling in at the bar and sampling from their extensive selection of Scotch before dinner. I compare it to my absolute thrill at finding a decanter of sherry in my room. So nice of them! The next day, we had them pack us a picnic to eat while out hiking. It was elegant and tasty, but a far cry from the granola bars and such that my father usually took on his woodland walks.
I think I set the camera on a tree stump and used the self-timer on this one…
My father would be participating in the heavenly banquet of eternity right now, and I can imagine him enjoying himself immensely in that setting. I’m off to get myself a little supper, probably just some hummus and a glass of Shiraz, but I eat and drink to his honor in gratitude this evening. I love you, Dad. To Life!!