My father would have been 67 today, if he hadn't died three and a half years ago. Those of you who read me then know all about it. My most rec-listed diary is about the start of that horrible process of his dying.
But today I have cause to celebrate his birthday. Not the way he did, true, but I'm celebrating all the same. The DNC made his birthday a day that will go down in history for my dad's community today.
They put our issues in the platform.
My father always celebrated his birthday with a full-on turkey-and-all-the-trimmings dinner. Never mind that it was early September in Southern California. He wanted a turkey, and he always got it. 24 pounds or more, stuffed with bread stuffing laced with sausage and apples and celery; mashed potatoes, gravy, Jell-o fruit salad with mayonnaise in the middle, cranberry sauce (both jellied and full-fruit), a green salad, his famous spinach casserole, maybe a quiche and, in later years, his garlic-mushroom mac and cheese; thawed fruitcake he'd made the previous holiday season and hidden in the back of the freezer; a good Chardonnay, ice water. And to end the meal, a mince pie (with the hard sauce, thanks) and a pumpkin pie (with the Cool Whip, thanks), which were always conveniently available from the Polly's Pies up the road from us, no matter the season.
That was just how my Dad celebrated his birthday. I think he would have cooked a turkey on every birthday in the family if we had let him - my mom's in January, mine in April, my brothers' in June, his partner's in January (in later years after he came out, and he and my mom had split up). But we protested, and so he limited himself to the big turkey dinner on just four days: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and his birthday.
He never wanted presents on his birthday. He just wanted his family with him, and a turkey dinner.
Even so, today, the DNC gave my dad a helluva posthumous birthday present. They made marriage equality a plank of the Democratic Party Platform.
My dad was 27 when a gay man first spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 1972. And now, GLBTs are fully accepted as an important part of the DNC's issues base, not just their money base. Only took 40 years.
I wish he'd lived to see it, but his children and grandchildren will benefit from it. Somewhere, I know he's beaming.
Now, for various reasons, I can't cook a turkey dinner tonight. But I can see it in my head. And I can smell all the good smells in my memory. And I can see Dad grinning as he carved that bird and served it up, with the ceiling fan spinning at its maximum speed to cool us all off in the September heat.
Happy birthday, Dad. I miss you like crazy.