FROM YOUR JAYBIRD~

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I still sit in his lap . I’m 35 years old, But I crawl in his recliner with him when he sits at the house and he wraps his big ole arm around me and holds me still. I am still his baby. Some one once told him , “She’s too big to be doin’ that.” And he said, “No she ain’t. She’ll NEVER be TOO BIG. I’ll hold her like that as long as she wants to sit there.” He had three girls before me, and wanted a boy I’m sure, but got me instead. So I followed him everywhere. I didn’t know I wasn’t THE boy. I wore the jeans, and the welder’s hat just like Daddy. I toted his tools, and set on the stool at the parts store and talked “shop” with the “guys” even though my feet wouldn’t even touch the floor. I was tearing into transmissions and motors and knew and could name practically every vintage automobile by model and year by the time I was 10. A LOT of people thought my dad HAD three daughters and one SON. My sister next above me was HORRIFIED. (She was the epitome of girlyness.)Daddy took me hunting practically before I could walk, in a little green sleeping bag and laid me beside him next to a pine tree so big around it seemed as if you could have built a house from it. I learned the smell the forest, steeped into my tiny hands until the fragrance of it and Daddy and I seemed like one thing. I learned to lay so still that the creatures of the woods would crawl across my fingers . My Daddy was the strongest , smartest , kindest , toughest man in the whole wide world. He taught me everything I ever knew about how to be a girl without even knowing it, because the whole time we weren’t doing girly things. How to stand up for myself , I was just a little ole bitty scrap of a thing, didn’t even weigh 80 pounds soaking wet, but I punched a guy twice my size in the nose for bullying me, just because my Daddy said “You never start anything, but you can SURE FINISH IT.” I never realized at the time we were growing up that we didn’t have a lot of money , because Daddy worked SO incredibly hard to make sure that on every birthday we got at least one gift that we desperately wanted. A bike, A Barbie for my sister, a real live Pony! , THE ATARI when it came out, hours and hours and hours I know now, that he put in at that hated “nut factory” he called it. Oh , Daddy! What ungrateful monsters we were! Today is your birthday , and all I can say is this letter is just words, only words. Tears to pour on a page. YOUR HANDS show the LOVE. YOUR BODY the SCARS. I love you so very much. And I don’t care who sees, who knows, who thinks, if I am silly, you are mine. I have never been prouder to call a man my Daddy . EVER. Happy Birthday, from your JayBird

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