A Tribute to My Favorite Fella

My dad is the man. And tomorrow is his big day!

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Among the many, many wonderful things about him, he…

> Taught me everything I know about schedules and sacrifices, once setting a record of coaching or attending 16 of his kids’ events in a single Saturday

> Stops whatever he’s doing to sprawl out on the floor and listen to my piano music as if I were Beethoven himself

> Gave me the courage to attend my first cross-country practice and has since been one of the most influential coaches, fans, and bike-riding companions I have

> Has the broadest knowledge of anyone I know, and will definitely be my first phone-a-friend choice if I ever need one

> Appreciates nature and animals to the maximum, tricking the neighborhood birds into thinking he’s one of them and teaching the squirrels to eat peanuts from his hands.

> Goes above and beyond to make others happy through acts as simple as heating up sunscreen before lathering it on our backs and waking up extra early to prepare a fresh pot of coffee

Unfortunately, when you have a dad who’s as awesome as mine, it’s not really fair to try to capture him and all he does with words. So I’ll let these guys, who I met in the Simien Mountains last week, offer a little analogy for the role my pops plays in my life:

Not unlike the big baboon who swoops in to sort out his kids’ nonsense and offer some protection for his little one, my dad is the one person I’ve always been able to count on. Although nowadays I don’t have to worry so much about mischievous brothers- who liked to fold up their little sister in the couch and use her as a trampoline, plant fake roaches on her pillow, rocket her down the stairs in a sleeping bag on top of a board, and tell her that she’s the runt of the litter like Wilbur- I’m just as confident in my dad’s ability to get me through absolutely anything and pick me up when I need a boost. I’m confident that his friends, clients, and other family members feel the exact same.

So Pa, thanks for everything you do for me and our family. I would say that I hope this birthday is your best one yet, but let’s be real- your childhood party thrown by the Dallas County jailbirds will be hard to beat. I love you very, very much, and am counting down the days til our first WRL run in 2013!

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