Birthday Tribute

My dad's the type of person who can find an adventure in everything. Whether it's walking the streets of New York City, hiking in the Black Hills, or enjoying an evening bike ride, he will find something new or interesting ... or peculiar to do. I'm not saying he's a daredevil - in fact, he's quite afraid of heights. He simply has the mindset for adventure. This is really just another way of saying the old cliché: he sees the glass half full. Whatever is in front of him, be it work, play, or even mindless errands, he is curious, open-minded and sees the possibilities. And that's how adventures are born.

Hiking at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota.

We used to live in NYC back when I was a toddler, and my mom has told me how dad enjoyed his walk home from work through the busy streets. Yes, he loves his hometown in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is quite the nature boy, but he never let that keep him from enjoying another experience. One day he actually found a sofa on the street and carried it right up to our apartment. The big green sofa of my childhood came to be because he found it on the street and said, why not?

Apparently my favorite past-time as a lil tyke was swinging upside down!

Dad and I were out on a bike ride one summer evening when we came across a Jaguar parked at the end of a long driveway. For Sale, it read in the window. Naturally, we had to check it out, peer through the windows, contact the owners ... we continued on our bike ride, then stopped by on our way home for an official test drive. Leave it to dad to head out on a bike ride and come home with a new car!

But not all of dad's adventures result in sofa and car purchases. Many are just about exploring a new path when out on a run - something he's instilled in me. Part of the excitement of running outside is the fact that there are choices to make. Shall I turn left or right? Over the bridge or around the path? What's going on down there ... ? With nothing but my own two feet I have the power to explore. It's really quite liberating and the rhythm of those choices lulls me into a nice runners high (never heard running and lull in the same sentence before, have ya?).

Although it's impossible to list all of the things I've learned from my dad over the years, here are a few that come to mind right now:

-You can make a home anywhere, if you have the right mindset. And everything you need will more or less be available, although maybe not in the form you expect.

-Don't assume you know yourself well enough not to try something because you don't think you'll like it.

-Be your own drummer - foster positive relationships and be socially savvy enough to bolster your own success, but don't worry about petty stuff getting in the way of what you want to do - or be.

-Make up words

-Be curious.

-Be geeky.

Dad and his geerkery
Hiking Crazy Horse Monument when we got caught in a hail storm!

Happy Happiest of Birthdays to you, Dad!
"... Let's have an adventure! (from the pancake song)


  1. Great surprise gift to start a Birthday with! Thanks! Now let's see what kind of an adventure I can have with my breakfast cereal! I'll have to tell Karrin a Susie adventure story this morning.

  2. That's a wonderful tribute to your dad! When we toured as background singers with Todd Rundgren (just another adventure along the way), another singers said about him, "He just has a 'Yes to Life' attitude." :) Happy birthday, John!

  3. Happy Birthday John!
    Dennis and Mary


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