He would have been 70 today.
But Dad wouldn't have wanted a big party. We'd have talked him into something, at least a family dinner, but we'd have to wait until harvest was over. He'd probably spend the day driving a truck for my brother, doing what he loved to do best on his birthday--farm. He'd chuckle at cards made by his young grandsons and tape them to his fridge. He'd sit at the desk and look out the window while accepting birthday wishes on the phone. And he'd most definitely eat, sampling a variety of food left in his kitchen by his sisters.
Except cancer took him too early.
So today, we celebrate for him. My brother is surely behind the wheel of a combine, missing Dad's company. My sister commutes to law school wondering what Dad would think of her tackling a law degree at 45. My other brother wishes his boys could go for a ride with Grandpa to the elevator the way he did at their age. Mom's probably fighting the urge to make a chocolate meringue pie.
And I'm thinking of his silly sayings, his laugh, and holding back the tears, wishing he hadn't missed so much, yet grateful for memories we carry forever.
We'll remember, Dad, and mark the milestone you cannot.