Anyone else have a lot of friends who are having birthdays today? Is it not a shock that the gestation period for a baby born on November 13th starts around Valentine's Day.
Anyway, my ever loyal (poor guy) Cubs fan brother-in-law, Jeremy, uber-efficient church secretary, Kris, our good friend and new blogger, Julie, and my fancy and fabulous friend, Rachel are amongst the birthday guys and gals today.
However, November 13th has been a celebrated day for as long as Joe can remember, as it is his grandpa's birthday. Today, he turns 88, and to look at him, you'd never know it.
Until last year, he was everywhere. During planting season, he'd run the planter or the tillage tool. During harvest, just a few years ago, I rode in the combine with him, although now he's primarily the grain truck driver. A lifetime hog man, even after Rick (his son and Joe's dad) took over the ownership of the hogs, he could still be found out working at the wee hours of the morning side-by-side with Joe's dad. As Joe puts it, if there is ever anything going on at the farm, Grandpa isn't that far away.
What strikes me about Richard (aka Grandpa Webel, Papa Dick), is his youthfulness. Even today, I had to ask Joe how old he is, as I can't believe he's 88. At a recent birthday party, he was found playing basketball with the kids...even though that ended with an injury, it didn't keep him down for long. He's spry and, although sometimes more than a little blunt, I enjoy his company. He always asks about how I'm doing, if I'm running, what's new with the kids. He adores all of his grandchildren, and wants to be a part of their life. When you're 88 years old, that's a big deal. He doesn't seem to miss many recitals, ball games, etc., and was generally one of the first visitors after I had each of my kids, not waiting too long to come and see the newest Webel.
I have enjoyed watching our relationship with Richard evolve. As a youngster, Joe spent hours with his grandpa and grandma, riding his bike to the hog buildings after school, working side-by-side as a teenager, and then calling nearly every week during the college and young professional years, just to see, "Whatsa going on..."
When we were first dating, I had to go meet Dick and D'lo (Grandma Dolores...who was D'lo before there was J-Lo), and once I got the thumbs up from them, I knew I was in.
Joe's grandpa's approval means the world to him, and now to me and our kids as well. While he's done silly things like teach all the kids to do the "Saaaalute" from Hee-Haw, he is sweet to them as well, always wants to pick them up to see how big they've gotten. Jack will even sometimes spend a minute on the play cell phone, just to chat with Papa Dick. The relationship lives on.
So, here's to you, Dick. Happy birthday, and we pray for many, many more.
Linking up with Holly's challenge here.