Every year when we were growing up my mother made a special cake for each of us on our birthday. My Dad's cake of choice was always German Chocolate Cake...not a fancy bakery version, but the one on the back of the "German's Sweet Chocolate" package. As a kid I hated this cake and was always a little miffed that on an occasion when I could reasonably expect a big slice of cake, it was a cake I didn't want to eat. It took a while for me to make peace with coconut, but these days, I would be more than willing to have a slice. I'm not sure my Dad ever knew I finally learned to enjoy his cake...he didn't live long enough even to celebrate his 56th birthday. Today would have been his 75th. I have not made this cake in a while, but this year, in recognition of his special day, I decided to make one.
|My mother's well-used copy of the recipe|
I should probably try and describe my Dad for you, but I don't think I will—at least not in the ordinary way one describes a person. Although he was a person who was highly esteemed—both personally and professionally—any description I could give here would still be inadequate. What is important to me is that he was my Dad—something no one else can be.
When I was a kid there was a skit on Sesame Street about a little boy who had been separated from his mother. In the skit the child is crying inconsolably as the detectives on the case try to get him to give a good description of her so they can find her. All he can tell them is that his mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. So they dutifully bring a parade of the most beautiful women in the world for him to see. All the while the child continues to shake his head sadly. I don't remember how it happens, but his mother finally appears on the scene. When she does, it is clear she is not the most beautiful woman in the world. Those who had been trying to find her for the child are stunned...but he is elated.
So, if someone were to ask me to describe my Dad in a few brief words, I would be tempted to say that he was the smartest, strongest man in the world. It is doubtful that a team of detectives could find him given such a description.....but I would know him anywhere.
Happy Birthday, Dad.