Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Papa Joe!

So, today is my dad's birthday and in celebration of this, I decided to take you on a visual tour of his life, his legacy, and things I have learned from him. (Warning: "visual tour" is code for picture overload.)

My dad is a special guy.  He's my dad and I'm his daughter.  There is no one with whom I have to share him; all of his "fatherly" love comes right to me!  I'm a lucky girl:

I get my, ahem, great looks from this guy, too!  He was born a cutie and stayed that way his whole life.  Need proof?

No one with looks like that can avoid being somewhat of a ladies' man:
April 1970 Margie Stephens and Joe Ehl...Dad, those shoes?
Is it me or does she look a little like Kelly Clarkson, too?

I'm just the lucky lady who has stolen his heart for an entire lifetime...

Speaking of looks, let's address one thing immediately.  My dad rocks his 'stache!  He has had a handlebar mustache for at least the past 35 years.  I think the story goes that he was a groomsman in a friend's early 70's wedding when the crazy mother-of-the-bride insisted the groomsmen be clean shaven.  (Dad, if you are reading this, please let me know if some of my details are hazy.)  My dad, being himself, decided to pull an "oh yeah?" and grow a mustache.  He's kept it ever since.
December 1977
ca. 1982
Being the dad that he is, he has taught me a few lessons.  First and foremost he has taught me by example to embrace my own inner charm and just be myself.   That's what he has always done:

May 1976
Okay, seriously he has taught me family values.  Dad is close to his family -- my family.  He is one of seven children.  Unfortunately he lost a brother to a trucking accident in 1971 or 1972 (I need to double check this exact date).  So the picture below is a treasured possession.  It's one of the last photos of all the siblings and both parents. 
August 1971
(L-R) Jessie, Jack "Doc", Bobbie Jean, Jerry, James, Joe, and Joyce -- All J names
seated are my grandmother Laura and grandfather Jack
Furthermore, one of my cousins is "in" the Aunt Joyce is 8 months pregnant with her daughter, my cousin Timberly.

Family is something that means a lot to my dad.  He is very close to his nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, and his own cousins.  He also likes to take family pictures. 
1996 -- Bobbie, James, Joe, Joyce
1998 -- Joyce, Joe, James, Doc
2000 -- Top from left: Joyce, Joe, James; bottom from left: Bobbie, Doc, Jessie
My dad has also taught me loyalty.  He has friendships that span several decades.  Dad is a social creature.  In fact, he was in a small, local fraternity while in college and he still tells stories of their antics.  I'm sure they were the original "good ol' boys"!
In his own handwriting, dad captioned this photo on the back:
Me, Moose, Sonny Chapman
Easter Weekend 1971, Fort Lauderdale

Another thing Dad has taught me is that love defies geography. Other than friends and family, my dad loves the road.  He's a true ramblin' man. He tried unsuccessfully to find a way to stay in one place, but the road has always called his name.  Yet, he's still my dad.  Wherever in the world he may be, I know that I can pick up the phone, drop an email, and connect with him.  More on geography in a minute...

My dad has taught me a love of Christmas like no other holiday.  I wish I had a picture of his Christmas display.  If I find one, I'll update here.  He used to have a spare bedroom with three of the four walls completely lined with a Christmas village, all intricately wired and staged and animated.  It was so detailed and decisively arranged, that he left it out all year and would cover it with sheets/tarps to prevent dust during the "off" season.  Christmas is an exciting time of the year for villages, presents, trees, etc.  But my dad is a Christian, and by example he has taught me to keep the reason for the season as a forefront of all celebrations.
ca. 1984
ca. 1986
Last but, not least, my dad has taught me to have a love of animals.  He loves all God's creations, but one of his "pets" will remain in my memories forever:  meet AJ the cappucian monkey dad bought at a truck stop!  
Speaking of animals, check out this "party animal" below:
He just thought he was over the hill.  I won't tell you how many years ago this picture was snapped, but let's just say the top of that hill is up there!  Love you!

So, back to geography.  Dad now lives quite far away, in case you didn't know.  In fact, he is 13 clock hours away in Davou City, Philippines.  I don't actually have his mailing address right now to send him a card.  Therefore, I decided to recycle one.  Below is something I apparently created a long time ago.  His handwriting dated it 1987 on the back.  Happy birthday, happy birthday.  I love you!

 originally created in 1987

PS: It occurred to me that I have not posted any pics of Dad and his precious grandchildren.  That is not to say that he is not happy/crazy to be their Papa Joe.  I just don't have any pics on the computer from which this post was drafted.  Papa Joe...Rob, Caroline, and Will all send you big hugs, kisses, and mustache tugs.  Love!!!


  1. Oh i really love this birthday message i really enjoyed reading this :)