Today my dad turns 80. He’s not happy about that. I try to console him by reminding him that even though he won’t be in the 70s anymore, his clothes will be.
My dad and I have a great relationship. We go way back. I’m named after him, sort of. My father’s name is Anthony Russo. Notice there’s no middle initial in there. My name is Anthony F. Russo. The ‘F’ stands for a name I’ve never liked (and no, I’m not going to say what it is.) The story goes that a nurse asked him what my legal name would be. The proud, new, and very bewildered father included what amounted to his own nickname. The nurse took it upon herself to write down the formalized version of that-name-which-shall-not-be-named and voila! I was stuck with a name my father doesn’t have and the nurse thought I should.
There is so much I wish I could tell you about my dad. Growing up he always provided for me, my mom, my two brothers and my sister. He was a city bus driver for years. We used to kid him that on family trips he couldn’t break the habit of pulling over taking on riders. All his regulars knew him for his jokes. He and my mom both had great senses of humor. Mine is exactly 50/50. I’ll say or write something and I’ll see Mom’s humor in it. At other times I’ll see Dad’s. My dad is the second-funniest man on the planet. (The first is whoever he gets his material from.)
Of course, life has not been without its share of anguish and grief. Next year will be ten years since we lost my mom and one of my brothers. But God has been so very, very kind to us. By His goodness we have smiled far more than we have cried, and we have hurt from hard laughter more than sorrow or sickness. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank my heavenly Father for my earthly one.
Would you do something special for me? Would you help me honor my father as the Lord tells me to do? And when you do, would you please pray for him. I’ll leave it to you and the Holy Spirit’s prompting as to what to pray for, but I would really appreciate it.
And while you’re at it, let me invite you to leave a comment here wishing him a Happy 80th Birthday! This little article is my birthday present to him, and so I’d like you to ‘sign the card’ with me!
Happy Birthday, Dad.
I love you.