Happy Birthday to my daddy!

Today my father is 83 years old. A couple of months ago, we weren't sure he'd be alive to celebrate, so this is an incredible day. He'd been to the doctor, and gotten an initial diagnosis that shocked and frightened us -- bone cancer.

Wow. Hearing words like that just make anything else in the world seem so unimportant. Following  the diagnosis of breast cancer my mother got last year, we were doubly troubled and hit with the reality that as much as we didn't want to face it, our parents are elderly and Death is raising his scythe and looking our way.

After a visit with a cancer specialist, various tests and a bone marrow biopsy, we got better news:  not bone cancer, but a disease of the bone marrow called myelofibrosis. Not the best news, but better.

Due to Daddy's age, his doctor doesn't plan on doing a bone marrow transplant, and while he's feeling okay, Daddy won't get any of the other treatments available. It seems the treatment is sometimes worse than the disease.

Daddy's back to work, though on a lighter schedule, and feeling pretty upbeat about the whole thing. So we soldier on, and cherish every day we have with Daddy and Mama.

I've shown pictures of Daddy before, but I thought I'd post some more on this special day. First up is from when he was in the Army. Daddy spent two years active duty, and many more in the Reserves. I remember him going off to his weekend and summer assignments when I was little.

I made a shadow box for him a few years ago, and this was one of the pictures in it. Like many war veterans, Daddy never liked to talk about his experiences much, except with his good friend, Jim. Only recently has he come to share his veteran status. He's had me make decals for his car, and he bought a tag from the license bureau. I really need to get a picture of the decals, they take up most of the lower rear window!

This is his baby picture, which I'm repairing in Photoshop. Nearly done, just need some adjustment layers and a few other tweaks. Isn't he adorably grumpy? I love his sausage curl.

This one is grainy and blurry, because it was taken from a video, which in turn had been converted from an old film. It was made in the 1960s when Daddy and a group of his friends and coworkers had a gig at the old Daniel Boone Amusement Park, in Hillsboro, NC.

Those guys loved doing the Wild West act, always working on new scripts and looking for things to make their shows better. Daddy was "Black Bart", and along with "his brother" -- who I don't think ever had any other name -- played by his best friend, lead an outlaw gang that was the bane of the sheriff and his deputies, not to mention the "townsfolk" they regularly terrorized.

Happy birthday, Daddy! You're still the greatest.

So there you have it, Gentle Readers, another trip down nostalgia lane. Take care, and eat some cake.