Happy Birthday July Fourth Celebration

This holiday is not just the standard Independence Day celebration for my family, but also a date honoring my dad's birthday. In particular, 2021 is a milestone for my father, hitting his eighty year mark! While I really wanted to travel to the United States to join the festivities in person, tough Japanese COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented me from flying to Washington state to spent some quality time with the family.

Since we were unable to meetup with the family for the huge get-together, we opted to celebrate July Fourth and honor Dad in absentia. Obviously not the ideal way we wanted to approach the commemoration, but this is the new normal until the world is better vaccinated and travel restrictions ease. We ordered up some good ole July Fourth 'murica fixings from Tokyo American Club and had a nice mini-feast at home with our three pups.

I wrote some details of the meal in yesterday's meallog post, but here are the specifics:

  • Selection of four different craft beer brews. I only drank the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale and the Stone Tangerine Express. The latter being an IPA was far too bitter for my tastes, but the Rogue Hazelnut was outstanding.
  • All-natural Berkshire hot dog with pineapple, jalapeño and sweet pepper salsa, mustard and ketchup lightly drizzled under that salsa.
  • Approximately 400g in total of smoked beef brisket with a nice pepper rub. Drenched the meat in some outstanding homemade barbeque sauce.
  • Approximately 150g of smoked beef ribs. They were later slathered in some of that awesome homemade barbeque sauce.
  • Sides were a mixture of american potato salad, apple coleslaw, macaroni salad with hard boiled egg, mexican street corn, tomato salad, and some super sour yet hella tasty pickles.
  • American cherry pie lightly topped with whip cream.

Since the weather forecast was for rain, none of this was home-cooked. All of it was ordered through a holiday special Tokyo American Club was offering. Rather than trying to grill in the rain, which I have done on occasion, just opted to let someone else take care of all the hard work. It paid off because the meal was outstanding.

Happy Birthday!

Photo by Jasmin Chew / Unsplash

To my Dad, Happy Eightieth Birthday on this July 4th, 2021!

What an amazing and fulfilling life journey you have had these first eighty years. I can only imagine what the next eighty will be like. As you would always say to us gullible kids when we were youngsters growing up, "if you eat {insert some food you do not like} for one hundred years, you will live to be very old." In the same vein, if you eat, drink, and live life the the way you have the past eighty years, and continue to follow this strategy for another eighty years, you will live to be hella old! This is not to say you are not already hella old, because you are. In this reality you will not just be hella old but hellified old! 😂

family BBQ in bfe, wa, June 8, 2019

I sincerely wish I could be there in BFE, WA celebrating your eightieth with you and the entire family. Having been away from the United States since 1990, I know we never really had an opportunity to "hang out" over the thirty plus years since I moved to Japan. The few occasions I have been back to visit BFE I have treasured the time we have been able to spend together.

If I have any regrets in life, it is not having more opportunities for us to spend time together once I ostensibly became an adult. Such is the life of the consummate dysfunctional American family.

Please continue to take care of yourself, enjoy life, and have fun hanging out with our very abnormal yet highly extended family. This is the gasoline fueling your eighty years on the planet, and will be supplying power to you for the next eighty. Listen to Sharon - happy wife, happy life and all 😉 - and keep in touch with the entire family, especially those who live mere minutes away.

Enjoy your birthday celebration. Drink but do not drink too much! Eat but do not eat too much. Most of all, have a wonderful time celebrating and spending time with family. Please know while I will not be there physically, I will be there in spirit.

As soon as these nonsensical yet necessary COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed, my plan is to hop on a flight out to BFE and visit the family. It has been too long since we last saw each other, and enjoyed a meal together. Seeing you all is long overdue.

Eighty years on this wonky planet. What an awesome milestone to achieve! If this were an anniversary, apparently the gift should be oak related. Somehow this seems oddly apropos, because oak trees live to be hella old too. They are ancient beasts towering over forests across the globe.

Oak may live for 1,000 years, although 600 may be more typical on many sites.

All oak are classed as ancient from 400 years onwards, although many will have ancient characteristics from around 300 years.

Typically a veteran oak is 150-300 years of age and a notable oak is 150-200 years old.

According to the oak tree aging guide, you are likely synonymous with a veteran oak. So yeah, hella old! 🤣 But enough playing around.

Once again, happy eightieth birthday Dad.

If my fledgling memory serves me correctly, this was the last time we had a meal together. I hit the grill with an array of Costco-bought steaks, bratwurst, sausage, and chicken. Sarah and Samantha rocked out some nice side dishes to go along with all the protein. Allan was the rock star of this meal with those chocolate chip cookie dough brownie bombs. Those were otherworldly!

This was a ton of fun, and a memory I still cherish to this day. It was right before I was off to Jackson Hole, WY for a work off-site and quarterly business review, but it literally was the last time I have been able to make it back to the United States west coast. SARS-CoV-2 was nary a thought in anyones mind at this point, never expecting the world to turn upside down only eight months later. It is a example of how precious life is, and how the world rapidly changes at a moments notice, without any warning whatsoever.

So again, Dad, I cannot wish you enough happy birthdays. My sincere apologies I am unable to be there with you in person to celebrate this momentous occasion. But please enjoy your day, have fun with the family, and be a good hella old boy.

Follow me on IG @MichaelRFenton
Photo by Michael Fenton / Unsplash

I love you Dad!

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