Sunday, January 18, 2009

The One with Rodger's Birthday

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Happy birthday, Rodger!!

Well, another birthday is here! I love birthdays!! The two-leggers were going to be in NJ to spend Rodger's birthday with him but that blasted snow storm changed their plans.

I don't know Rodger that well but I've met him a few times. Everyone is always surprised that I'm not my over-the-top cautious self with him. I'm a good judge of character. Plus I've heard lots of stories about him. For example, he's a master craftsman. Apparently, there is nothing he can't build or design! That's how my papa has learned to be so crafty. Papa is always calling Rodger for advice on his 101 projects.

There are the countless stories about the summer weekends spent at their PA house. One that comes to mind is when Rodger and papa rebuilt an old lawn mower engine to work in one of papa's ride on motor toys. And I've heard about all of the baths in the neighborhood pond while they were building the house and Rodger was in charge of papa for the weekend. (Sure, they do that and it's okay, I put a toe in our pond and it's unacceptable.)

During the school year, they lived in NJ. Papa had to walk uphill both ways from the bus stop to the house they lived in while papa was in grammar school. I guess to make up for the trouble he built papa a pool at that house. Most parents would put in a little kiddie pool but not Rodger! It was an in-ground pool complete with pumps and filters! And people say I'm spoiled.

After they moved to their current house, summer soon became working summers so papa could save money during college. Rodger would hire papa during long weekends and over the summer to help on the various contracting jobs. Papa learned a lot while working with Rodger over the years, much to our benefit now!

They would take long hunting trips, often by boat, and would tire themselves out by lugging around all of their cargo. You know how this family likes to travel in comfort, imagine fitting all of that into a row boat! They'd be so sleepy, they'd take naps in the sun using boulders for beds. I bet neither of them could imagine doing that these days.

Rodger and papa still go hunting together on Thanksgiving morning. Well, by "hunting" I mean getting up VERY early, putting on dozens of layers, driving to the woods, doing a little walking, some sight seeing, maybe shooting a few rounds... and then the main event: a long breakfast in a warm diner. Eggs and Taylor Ham. Funny how some things are easy for me to remember.

Mom remembers one Thanksgiving when they returned with a couple of pheasants. Mom does not come from a hunting family and isn't crazy about anything dead being brought to her after a kill. Ask Phoenix - she's brought mom lots of birds and rabbits. Mom is never pleased. I digress. Newly married, and not thinking it through, papa teased mom and paraded the bird around her a bit. Rodger very discretely suggested that papa - well - not do that. Mom will always be grateful to Rodger for that lesson.

In fact, papa is always learning from Rodger. I guess that's what dad's are for!

So, happy birthday, Rodger! And thanks for all of your invaluable life lessons.

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