My dad is 80 years old today. 80!! He was born in 1931 in some little place in England. Not fancy London, no. Just some small town if I told you the name, you’d nod and pretend like you know it, but you really don’t. I know from stories that he basically grew up poor. Of course when he was 10, the war was in full swing and I’m sure that made things even more unpleasant for the family. A family of 3 boys and 2 girls. My dad being the second oldest and looking after his younger siblings. Michael Tom Tipper had a life you read about in a Frank McCourt novel.
I won’t give you my dad’s biography. I don’t even think I know it all completely. It gets a little hazy for me between when he met my mom and came to the states in the 50s.
There’s things I’m so grateful for about my dad. He makes a proper cup of tea (duh, hence the English in him) and he made me a sugar butty as a kid. It’s white bread, butter and a sprinkling of sugar. When I visit, I still have one. And Emma and Owen love it too.
But really, what I love about my dad, and I could weep with pride when I express this, he is the hardest working, never complaining, smartest, most dependable human being I know. Sometimes growing up with such perfection is a little difficult. I remember getting scolded for something I did wrong, or he likes to yell and say things like, ‘bloody hell’, typical English swear phrase, which would kind of scare me. It definitely scared the little kids that came to play at our house!! Sorry about that. It didn’t happen often.
But I can’t say more, he is truly a man of unselfish devotion. He has rescued me on the side of the freeway to change a flat tire- and this was just a few years ago! He knows his way around a kitchen and a garage. He can get all greasy with his coveralls while restoring his vintage Jaguar that he is doing now, or back when he worked as a mechanic for United Airlines for 35 years and came home with black under his finger nails. But as they say, he cleans up good. He can put his best dinner jacket on and have tea with the Queen and fit right in. And people always ask about his accent, which we barely notice anymore, but comes through especially when he says, ‘bloody hell’. I think he has the distinguished air of Prince Phillip, mixed with a bit of Len Goodman (from Dancing with the Stars) and that quiet, mystery like Clint Eastwood, but just without the squinty eyes.
He is a cancer survivor, a WWII survivor, an immigrant, a husband, father and grandfather. He isn’t perfect, I know that. But he’s my dad and he’s perfect to me.
Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you.