Today my dad would have been sixty-three years old. He died seven and a half years ago unexpectedly (what I hope will prove to be the suckiest thing to happen in my life). Allen Williford had a birthday three days after Christmas. I think most everyone knows someone with a near-Christmas birthday. He wasn’t a showy guy and the only way I knew he didn’t like “combo-presents” and such is because my mom told me. He was such a great person – the kind of person who should have had a birthday in the middle of nowhere on the calendar so that he could be showered with birthday-only affection and acknowledgments.
So, today, I just want to take a moment and tell the greatest dad in my world Happy Birthday and then also just a little shake of my fist in the universe’s general direction because I don’t get to tell him in person.
And so you can know him a little, here’s a moment I completely forgot about but was recently reminded of by my husband:
My dad, Tom, my mom, my sister, and I were all having lunch a little restaurant near my house (they had come down to Georgia to visit.) Out of nowhere, this kid (maybe about eighteen years old) comes up to my Dad and asks him if he knows how to tie a tie (he had one draped around his neck, pathetically waiting for a wise man to help out), and if so, would he tie his. My dad said, “I’ll do you one better, I’ll teach you how to tie a tie.” And so, my dad taught this complete stranger how to tie a tie in the middle of a restaurant.
This guy was with other people, also eating lunch. My dad was not wearing a tie. He chose my dad out of the entire restaurant. Why? Because, and I don’t know how else to put it, of course you would choose my dad out of the blue to help you tie your tie – he just had this aura that said, “I am a very capable person and can help you out.”
So Happy Birthday to my dad, who once taught a kid to tie a tie during lunchtime at a restaurant.