We are having a party for my father tonight for his 65th birthday. He knows we are going out to dinner but he has no idea that over the past month, my family and close family friends have banded together to participate in a little thing I like to call Buying My Dad 65 of His Favorite Things. I can’t wait to see his face when we dump 65 gifts on him and yell SURPRISE YOU CRAZY OLD MAN! It sounds like a lot but I don’t think any of the gifts are big, expensive things and since our family is pretty large, dividing up the list was pretty easy. In fact, most items are simple quirky things my father ADORES, mostly food related—a box of clementines, a bottle of red wine, that cranberry couscous from Whole Foods he goes nuts over, some seeds to plant in the garden, etc.
I am so thrilled that we are gathering to celebrate him in all his quirkiness, something that he so very much deserves as he has been nothing short of the most wonderful dad in the history of the universe. I wrote a letter to accompany the gifts and explain the idea. I have copied and pasted it below because, why not? Happy Birthday to my dad, the Polish King, my personal hero!
HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, YOU CRAZY POLACK!
I must admit, I have always had a soft spot for your birthday. It could be because it’s so close to Christmas and is often overlooked or because you always seem to dismiss it with a wave of your hand. However, the main reason I love your birthday is probably because you are my favorite person and your birthday signifies another year that I get to spend with you.
It occurred to me that 65 is a pretty big number. Especially considering the young deaths we’ve experienced lately, it is all the more astounding that you are 65 and still kicking. (Sort of. Well, one knee out of two ain’t bad.)
It’s pretty amazing to think that when you were born, WWII was still going on. Hard to believe that you knew and remember a time when a subway ride was a dime, an ice cream cone was a nickel and Park Slope was a place where you could get mugged. What I’m trying to say is: Dad, YOU ARE OLD.
But since you make such a lovely old person, what better way to celebrate your birthday than to celebrate you, to celebrate the quirkiest man our family knows. A man who spends his time thoughtfully contemplating life on the front lawn as he rakes leaves. A man who wants to know if you can cry underwater, if you can drive a hearse in the HOV Lane, a man who never stops wondering, never stops asking questions, never stops being amazed at the little things—the exotic flavor of a soup, how much money he saves at the grocery store in double coupons, how good butter tastes slathered on a piece of rye bread.
To me, I think that’s what life is all about—finding pleasure and love in those small details rather than the big and expensive. And so, to honor you, we have gathered 65 of your favorite things, thoughtfully compiled by your friends and family. We wanted to surround you with joy in the same way that you surround us with it whenever you are nearby. We wanted you to know how it feels to be in your presence, how every time we’re with you, we’re reminded to stop and savor the little things, how those make life complete, whole and wonderful.
Likewise, your generosity, sense of humor, and capacity for love make our lives complete, whole and wonderful. Dad, for all your 65 adventurous years, you remain our #1 very favorite thing.
All of Us