Today my dad turns 60.
And today I want to celebrate him, his life, and the father that he is/has been to me.
My dad grew up in a small town in Indiana. Besides the four years in Bloomington for college, he spent his entire life in the same county. Minus the last two, which I’ll explain in just a bit.
Even though we might seem radically different in many ways, like our politics or the jokes we tell, we are so alike in a number of others. Just like him, I can be friendly in a crowd but prefer my more introverted ways. Like him, I get grumpy when I don’t have time to myself to decompress. Like him, I love inspiring music, a sense of community, and order—just check out our closets! We also can be highly sensitive, entrepreneurial, and creative.
So what do I love about my dad?
I love that he stood in the wind and rain through countless track meets coaching me rather quietly.
I love that he worked with my grandpa at the family’s independent grocery store.
And speaking of the store, I loved that I would go to “help” him in the mornings before kindergarten. And he’d comb my wiry hair, as his was just as wiry.
I love that he coached my t-ball games even though I could barely hit the ball.
I love that he’d play his guitar at the dinner table on Friday nights and that we’d go around the table picking songs to sing. I know that’s where my love for John Denver as well as Peter, Paul & Mary come from.
I love that he and my mom have found a way to stay together—and in love—after nearly 50 years together. They were middle school sweethearts.
I love that he is tackling work in Indianapolis these days as a way to challenge himself and leave a professional legacy for the bankers coming after him.
I love that he helped cook and clean and care for us along with mom.
I love that he’d take us on family vacations each year to Chicago or the beach or New York City.
I know I’m forgetting so many other reasons.
But for today, I’ll tell you that I love my Dad, Clint Pletcher. And I’m grateful for all he’s taught me about living.
Happy birthday, Dad.