happy birthday poppa branch! i distinctly remember gifting you a written account very similar to this, back when i was a little girl. do you still have it? i hope so, but if not, here is a new and improved list on why i am so glad you were born( in no particular order).
1. you always taught your daughters that the best title wasn't necessarily "Most Valuable Player" but "Most Improved". you always encouraged us to be the best we could be, and that is all you asked of us.
2. on the contrary, you did also encourage me to "kick butt and take names", especially in my 13 years of playing soccer. which is kind of funny considering i was just the goalie.
3. you take great pride in the musical tastes you have passed down to your daughters- buddy holly, elvis, the drifters, the righteous brothers, the walker brothers, jay black and the americans, johnny mathis. i had so much fun going over the wedding playlist with you the night before i got married, and hearing you say, "i raised you on the classics. classic rock and roll!"
4. you clip out articles about fashion and fashion marketing in the newspaper and in magazines, and have mom include them in her care packages. and also very important, pragmatic clippings about household budgeting...
5. you taught me the importance of being precise, a lesson you have passed down to all your girls. very helpful when trying to hold my own in a debate with a lawyer husband.
6. you taught me how to draw. the very first thing i ever learned how to sketch was a three dimensional wine glass, and how to break down the object into very common shapes.
7. you are a walking compendium of quotes. i always hear the tom wolfe quote, "torn filaments of mist wash slowly round the shoulders of the hills," when i see mountains spotted with clouds of grey and white. you used to always recall this snippet of literature when we drove 'round the mountains of georgia.
8. you were always willing to take me tubing on the lake, twice and sometimes even three times a day! you were never too grumpy to turn me down, although i will probably never forget when you forced me to water ski in front of ed and alex in the 8th grade. i am still mortified! unfortunately the david branch-water skiing skills were never passed down to me in the gene pool!
9. you have always been a dapper dad, but my favorite fashion choice was on my wedding day, when i tried to force you into a seersucker suit and bow tie, you said, "nope i'm wearing my white dinner jacket, and i am going to look like jay gatsby. and you know what, you were right.
10. you love to call our mother, "one hot babe" and other terms of endearment in front of lisa, amy, and me. and you get an even bigger grin when we respond, "eeeeew dad, we're right here!" but i hope my husband is still as flirty with me at 62, as you are with mom.
11. you always say "hellloooooo baby" like the big bopper, as your telephone greeting to your daughters.
12. you love a practical joke, and when you and mom were in high school you decided to tell her your initials were SDB, instead of DBS. this little joke caused her to get everything monogrammed incorrectly, even a gold signet ring of yours that i wear everyday. it makes me laugh every time i tell that story.
13. you are such a supportive and proud father, which really, is pretty awesome. you have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and have in every way been there for me. in fact, you're usually two steps ahead of me, designing the business cards and logos!
14. you have pretty sweet dance moves. so good in fact, that i was semi-unaware of how good they were, until my wedding reception. both ed and my friends still talk about your dancing skills!
15. you took me to see a river runs through it, on a school night, randomly when i was in the third grade. it is one of my favorite movies, helped inspire the theme of my wedding, and represents one of my favorite father-daughter memories with you.
16. you've always had really endearing expressions for me during my awkward years. you affectionately referred to my buck teeth as my "cute space" and always said, "girl, i need to put a brick on your head" when i just didn't stop growing. i guess my growth spurt ended, just as soon as i caught up to you, with us both topping 5'10".
17. you, and mom, still patiently drive my sorry fanny around town, whenever i come home. i can't thank you both enough for that.
18. you gave me such a good last name, that i couldn't drop it! i had to keep all three, because everyone still calls me "ginnybranch stelling". my maiden name and first name have just become one.
19. because you sang johnny mathis' "the twelfth of never" to me, the day the doctor put me in your arms on the day that i was born. that was the first thing you did when you held me for the first time. and you sang this song to me every night as a little girl, to help me fall asleep. and it was the song we danced to as our father-daughter dance at my wedding. and i cry every time i hear it.
20. because you are such a good man. because i hope we have sons one day that are as good as you.
i love you so much dad. thank you for always believing in me. you and mom have given everything and sacrificed so much for all your children. i can only hope that ed and i will be half as good to our children, as y'all were to me, lisa, and amy. i will always be grateful for your generosity, your kindness, your humor, your open-mindedness, your creativity, and obviously, your musical taste. we are so glad you were born.