Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Knee-deep in a roast...

My apologies for leaving that seething rant-of-a-post up here for so long. I had actually typed up a lovely summation of my weekend away and Blogger promptly opened up and swallowed it whole into the black abyss where all the great unseen blog posts go. Gah! OK, here I go with it again..
For weeks I have felt a nagging stress to which I'm not normally accustomed--worrying about age. Most of my life, I've been of the mindset that age is meaningless as long as you're young at heart. Birthday's don't bother me in the least. Of course, I have not turned the big 4-0 yet, but I don't foresee a big meltdown on that one either.

This week, my stress about age has had nothing to do with my own, and everything to do with my baby nephew turning 16 and especially my father turning 60. So, when I was asked to help organized a 60th birthday roast for my Dad, and expected to actually speak at the roast, well I was pretty stressed out to say the least.

First, there was keeping this secret from my Dad, who knows everyone in our hometown and knows everything that goes on in said population of 1 stop light and 1 flashing yellow light. Then, there was the whole talking in front of people that I haven't seen in 10 years thing. Yeah, that induced serious week-long nausea. And, it didn't help that I was in the midst of a 2-week long lack-of-sleep binge thanks to redesigning my church's website. (Almost done, thank goodness!)

But, the party went off without a hitch. My father was completely surprised, which SO never happens, and also very touched. My speech? Well, first it got interrupted by a call from a good friend of my Dad's who was out of town to wish him happy birthday. My speel was interrupted by my Dad having to answer the call and shouting, "Help me! They're going to roast my ass!" Which got everyone to laughing and then made my sentimental talk a little ridiculous and a downer. But, well, I muddled through it. It was the usual, I thought it was awful and everyone else told me it was nice.

I had expectations though that were shattered at this party. But, I mean that in a good way. You see, my Dad is a real ham. The man knows everyone in our hometown and is a regular good ole' boy. In fact, if you looked in the dictionary, I am quite certain that next to "good ole' boy" you would find his picture. He's the over-the-top story type of person who keeps everyone laughing. He loves to play practical jokes and tease. He has really gotten some of his friends good over the years with this.

And, so, my sister and I fully expected for the word "roast" with his name next to it to have people crawling out of the woodwork to embarrass and tease him. And, the RSVPs DID come rolling in as everyone was excited about the evening. There were some funny jokes. One man brought a huge trash bag full of leaves to commemorate all the times my father walked into his coffee shop and announced he was turning over a new leaf. Another wrote a silly poem about various funny predicaments my father has gotten himself into--including being injured in a local rodeo when he and several friends (with no rodeo experience) decided to try and wrestle a steer. (True story...I kid you not.) And there were several other funny retellings of various things my Dad has said.

But, the biggest surprise? There really wasn't a huge roasting that evening. When they went to my Dad's closest friends...his coffee shop pack of guys that he's known for a good 30 years or more, they all said the nicest things. None of them had one bit of dirt to share to put him on the spot.

"This is his night. I tease him every day. He deserves this." Those were the words I heard from several of the guys I expected to talk.

And, that touched me. My Dad has such a gift for making friends that these people who he harasses all of the time would not dream of standing up and making fun of my Dad in front of his family and other friends. They adore him. And, when I say "they," I include a very large group of friends--larger than I remembered until we got them all in one room. It was fantastic just to realize that and take it in.

My Dad is not perfect. In fact, he's disappointed me many times over the years. He has his vices and he isn't always someone to which I have felt emotionally connected, especially during my teen years. It is as an adult that I have been able to reflect and see some really great things I have learned from this man--optimism, continued forgiveness of others, seeing the best in people, community activism, love of politics, church involvement, and more.

Most of all, I can say that if I can live my life and draw that same kind of friendship to me--like he seems to do so effortlessly--I will have received an amazing gift from my Dad.

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Blogger Tamara said...

Aww! I am so glad it went well, Steph. We got goodies in the dad department...

8:56 PM, February 27, 2007  
Blogger Sitting said...

*raising hand* Can I be one of those friends? I'll tease you playfully but have your back, promise.

1:04 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Nicole said...

That's awesome. You should share this story with him. I'm sure he'd be touched.

2:50 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Sounds like you had a successful party. No parents are perfect, but it's up to us to see the good in our own, I think. Well-written post!

4:20 PM, March 02, 2007  
Anonymous Angela said...

This sounds like a great party! I would love to do a roast of my dad... he's already had his 60th b-day, so maybe we'll hit him on his 65th ;)

10:17 AM, March 03, 2007  

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