On death "anniversaries" and birthdays of loved ones who have passed on, I choose to focus on what great memories I have rather than the loss. Dad was a complicated soul, but still quite the character. I grew up thinking he looked like Steve Allen. He wrote newsletters for the church and create clever doodles. When I was small, he would do little plays with his hands talking to each other which made me laugh.
Dad always knew what to say to me during the more trying times growing up, especially when I was a teenager. Those teenage years were horrible for me. Sometimes I would come home and just cry on his shoulder. He was comforting, telling me that "this too will pass away" and what seems important right now will not be over time. What I miss most about him is that he would always ask me what I was writing - working on. I like being asked that question.
Dad could be very funny. I remember a time when I was very young we were going camping down in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mom and Dad slept in the station wagon and I slept in the canvas tent. When we arrived on this particular trip, it was raining and the wind was blowing. I still remember watching my mother, father and a kind fellow camper trying to pitch that tent in the bad weather. (Why they didn't wait until it stopped, I don't know.) Ever since then, Dad referred to wind and rain as "Kersey Camping Weather."
It's hard to believe that he's been gone over ten years. But rather than be terribly sad on his birthday, I remember the good times I had with him and how much he taught me as a writer and creatively in many respects.