A warm supper on this rainy October evening took me back to my childhood and reminded me of my dad. Today would have been his birthday.
He loved cheese and apparently it loved him, too. He lived 91 years without even a hint of heart trouble. Every year for his birthday, I would bake him a spice cake with as much caramel icing as I could lawfully load onto the layers without collapsing the whole thing. Behind cheese and my mother, sugar was probably his third love.
One of our favorite family stories involved one of his teenage birthdays and his mother's delicious apple-stack cake - baked just for him. The story goes that his older brother waited for him to come home from school and then calmly went into the kitchen, brought the entire cake (on its stand) into the dining room, along with one fork. He then sat down at the table and consumed the whole cake in one sitting, right in front of my dad.
I thought about him tonight, eating my little stoneware crock of potato-cheese soup. He lived a good life and helped raise three good children. He was a master cabinetmaker, a very graceful dancer, and an even better pantomime artist. He loved life and he loved God. And he loved cheese.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.