On Saturday, May 26th, my father, James Avitable, turned 60 years old. Or maybe I should say 60 years young, which is a terribly trite phrase that I despise, but it’s true. The man skis and hikes and works outside and is just as active now as he’s always been. He may not drive *quite* as fast as he used to, back when he had the nickname “Crash Avitable”, and he may have softened around the edges of his larger than life personality, but he’s still the same Italian stallion who has been the figurehead of the household (everybody knows my mother’s really the one in charge, of course) since I’ve been born.
He looks younger now than he did twenty years ago, and he is as strong as an ox, just like his father. The Avitables are built like little tanks, and he’s no exception. He’s funny and enjoys the simple pleasures of life. In the last ten years, he’s developed an affinity for cigars, and nothing makes him happier than going down to the cigar bar and having a beer and a smoke. It’s a long way from the long-haired teen who used to get drunk and get into fights with everyone, but I see it as more of an evolution.
He’s been a private investigator, a programmer, a systems analyst, a salesman, and a network administrator. He is a packrat and loves Spiderman. He likes meat and cheese and potatoes and will always get the last bite of dessert. Dad has no volume setting except for loud and really loud, which might make for the occasionally frustrating movie-going experience, but it’s okay. He’s my dad.
Dad and Mom have been married for 37 years now, and I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve seen them fight. They make a perfect team. Dad respects, loves, and cherishes my mother, and it shows in every action. He has always been an amazing example how to treat the women you love, and I’m blessed to have learned that from him.
I may confuse and frustrate him with my desire to talk on the phone for hours a day, my need to share every moment of my life with the world, and my ribald sense of humor, but all of that goes away when we go into a darkened movie theater, the preview of “Expendables 2” comes on, and he grabs me and shouts at decibel-piercing volume “Oh, that looks awesome – we gotta see that!”
Happy 60th birthday, Dad. I love you.