Happy birthday, Pop.

My dad’s birthday was on Friday. He was born in 1947, so he would’ve been … 2024-1947 = 77 years old. Eleanore insisted we go to Culver’s for dinner to celebrate – he loved Culver’s. He’d collect the Scoopie Tokens off the kid’s meals he’d order for himself and my mom (Because we’re old and we can’t eat as much anymore, Rach.) and save them up to get fun little prizes for their grandkids. So cute, so cute.

This guy was my guy. More than any other guy who’s been in my life. Ever. He just got me. And he knew how to deal with me and how to talk to me. And I miss that. Every day I miss that.

Sunday mornings were our time to catch up. I’d usually settle in with a hot cup of coffee around 6:00 or 6:30 – before the girls woke up – and I’d give ‘im a call.

Riiiiing … riiiiing … riiiiing….

Dad: Hey Rach.

Me: Hi-ya, Pop. Got time to talk?

Dad: You bet I do. How’s it goin’? How’s work?

Me: Work’s stressful right now. We’re implementing a new ERP system and it’s kindova shitshow. To be expected, I guess.

Dad: Yeah, that’s not an easy transition to go through. I remember when Manpower tried moving to a new system years and years ago, and they couldn’t get IBM the reporting they wanted in the way they wanted it. It ended up being a multi-million-dollar tax write-off.

Me: I remember you telling me that story before. So what happened then? They just reverted back to their old system?

Dad: Yep. Until they found something else that worked better for their customers. Not a good time for Manpower, but they got through it. What else is news? How’re the girls?

Me: I love them, but they’re a pain in the ass sometimes, Pop.

Dad: (Laughs) Oh yeah? What’s goin’ on?

Me: They’re fighting with each other a lot. The dramatics and the emotions – they’re all SOOO BIG. It’s exhausting. I took them to see “Annie” yesterday at the Wayzata Community Church. The production value was outstanding for a free performance – I’m excited to see what they do next. But the girls got kinda whiny and clingy and squirrely and bleh. It’s annoying.

Dad: Yeah, well that’s a long time for them to sit. You guys used to get like that too. It’ll get better when they’re a little older. I think it’s great that you still do that kinda stuff with them, even if they do get to be a pain in the ass. I always enjoyed doing things like that with you guys when you were little.

Me: Yeah, I guess. How are you? How’s Ma?

Dad: We’re doing good. It’s so different here on the Other Side. A lot more peaceful and I don’t have to worry as much. Your mom can breathe again, and her hips work like they did when we first got married. I’m happy to see my boy. And Justice and Lola.

Me: I miss you, Pop. It’s been a hard year.

Dad: I know. But you’re doing great. All you guys are.

Me: Come back. I want you to come back.

Dad: No. I had a great life. I’m happy here.

Me: I know. I love you, Pop.

Dad: I love you too. I’ll talk to you later.

Me: OK, bye.

Dad: Bye.

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