This is my "Pops". Born March 4, 1949. If you are good at math like he is.... then you know that he is turning 60 this week. 60! It is so hard to believe! Here is a glimpse in to the
My Dad was born in Paducah, KY to Bill and Bettye Switzer. I'm pretty sure he was born in a barn on top of a horse with a wildcat by his side. That is pretty much all I know of Kentucky.... barns, the Kentucky Derby and the greatest basketball team of all time.... The Kentucky Wildcats! ( Sorry USC folks... but it is true!) AND contrary to popular belief... he was born without a beard! I posted the pic above to prove it. In fact... he is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen.
Here are some known facts about my Dad....
1. He was born a girl but kissed his elbow in elementary school and turned in to a boy. I cannot even tell you how many times I tried to do this.... hoping to change my gender so I could stand up to go the bathroom. I obviously couldn't get it to work.
2. When his shoes would wear out on the bottom he would tie smashed coke cans to the bottoms to replace the soles. This way his shoes would last for years. This is what he told me every time I wanted new shoes.
3. He went to school with a guy named Ben Dover. Say that last sentence out loud and you will get why that story is so funny???? He tells that story to anyone who will listen.
4. He can steal your nose right off of your face. It's true! I've seen him do it a thousand times. He holds it up in the air and will only put it back on if you promise good behavior. Obviously I made a lot of promises I couldn't keep....either that or my nose is a prosthetic....you will have to figure that one out on your own!
Here are some things that I have in common with my Dad...
1. My LOVE for thrill rides... roller coasters and amusement parks. From the time the park opens to after it closes.... he will be there running from ride to ride. I was riding roller coasters with him as soon as I reached the "must be this high to ride" sign. I was three and was wearing high heels... but still. Some of my best memories are of me and my Dad choosing our last ride of the night and running to get there.
2. My love for telling stories.... some true and some not. He tells the best stories.... and I would (and sometimes still) believe every word. For example: He would plant green beans in old tennis ball cans to ensure they would grow straight up in the garden. I asked him about it once... and he told me that he was growing tennis balls. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world and I told all of my friends. That was last year. Or the time he told us if you put my Mom's wooden fruit centerpiece in the fridge over night... it would produce fresh fruit. Sure enough... the centerpiece would be back on the table in the morning and we would have fruit for breakfast. It is amazing the amount of creativity and imagination we were raised with... every single one of us has the gift of story telling which makes for very interesting conversations. You seriously never know what is real and what isn't. I'm sure those of you who work with me can attest to that!
3. My love for hot/spicy foods.... the hotter the better... and really just my love for food in general. My Dad will put an ENTIRE packet of crushed red pepper flakes on ONE slice of pizza! That is TRUE... I have seen it with my own eyes! We have never met a buffet we didn't like. Food eating contests would happen regularly... and still do. He also loves to try new things and will eat anything! The food highlight of his life was when we ate at Norway in Epcot. He was laughing and smiling so much that the food was literally falling right back out of his mouth! You can ask Kev.... I don't think we have ever seen him so happy. Now Kev is Norwegian... so obviously I love Norwegians... but their food ... not so much.
4. My high testosterone levels and insane hair growth. My Dad can make his hair grow by just thinking about it. It is ridiculous! When we first moved to Columbia in 1991, we had a neighbor stop by to introduce herself. All of us answered the door at the same time ( I know that sounds weird... but we were excited to be here) and her response was "oh my goodness, there is so much hair!". We have spent our lives unclogging shower drains. When my Dad sold me to Kev at the pawn shop, I came with a note that said "plumber required for her maintenance". Kev obviously didn't believe it and has been paying the price ever since.
5. My sense of humor. I was raised on laughter and I can't imagine any other way of living. You can count on my Dad to always be telling a joke, making a funny comment, or acting crazy to get attention. We never even had a chance to be sad or sick... my Dad would do anything for a laugh and before you knew it -you would be feeling much better. I remember having to call my Dad to come pick me up from school because I was sick. Sometimes I was... but mostly I wasn't.... I just wanted to go home from school. And he knew that. So, the minute I would get in the car.. he would start with the jokes. I would try so hard not to laugh... but laughing is my absolute favorite thing to do... and once it starts you can't stop it. So, I would laugh... and then he would determine that I wasn't really sick and would take me back to school. After a couple of times... I learned to stay at school and not be "fake" sick. Laughter is TRULY the BEST medicine!
Our family get togethers are loud, obnoxious and FUN! It is quite the experience and one I hope you will get to participate in. It took Kev a couple of months to get used to us.... but after a crazy experience in a McDonalds in Gatlinburg.... he has been one of us ever since. Kev's laughter is music to my ears.... loud music... but great music!
So, my Mom surprised my Dad with a week long trip to DisneyWorld..... their second home. This trip involved all of my Dad's favorites.... staying at the Animal Kingdom lodge, eating at his favorite restaurants, even going on a "backstage" safari tour. It sounded so awesome... but we all were not going to be able to go. Not to mention that my Dad has a lot of friends that wanted to celebrate his birthday with him. You know that my Dad is a sports nazi. He plays on two softball teams, tennis, basketball.... and I think he is also a horse jockey, race car driver, and pole vaulter... I'm telling you.. he is intense. By the way, I do NOT have a sports talent in common with him!
Anyway, we started brainstorming on ideas. Kev worked with the guys and I worked with the girls.... and we came up with a SURPRISE party at our house. Now those of you who know us know that we don't have people out very often....in fact, most of you have not even been out here. Not because we are rude.... we are just busy and like to wear our pajamas A LOT. Having a party out here would be the last thing my Dad suspected. Every one pulled together and chipped in. We did a cookout with all of my Dad's favorites. Everything was decorated with blue and white - for Kentucky. I even did a three tiered tower of blue and white airbrushed cupcakes.... ( have I ever mentioned that I LOVE cupcakes and LOVE making them... so cute!) He was SO surprised! One of his best friends got him an "old timers" hat that had all kinds of old people things on it (like skin chips, crankiness, and dust). That is what he has on in the picture. There was so much laughter! It was great to meet some of his friends and hear all the crazy stories of shenanigans my Dad has gotten in to.
We luckily prevailed over the bad weather and had a wonderful celebration! As I was typing this post... Bethany sent me a pic of my Dad standing in front of the Animal Kingdom wearing a shirt that says "It's my birthday" with all of the Disney characters on it. He has the biggest smile on his face.... the biggest one I ever seen this side of the Mississippi. Happy Birthday Pops!