Here it is on a Sunday evening and on Monday, October 27 is a birthday that will go unnoticed by the vast majority of people here on Fannation. It won't go unnoticed by me though as it will be my dad's 80th birthday.
I have to attribute my love for racing to my dad. It goes back to a youngster when we would sit and listen to the Indy 500 on the radio. Back to a time when that's all you could do on race day because the Speedway wouldn't allow the race to be shown live on local TV.
The same guy who, along with mom, came to get me out of my first grade class to go to the Speedway to watch practice. The same guy who I invited to go to the Indy 500 with me when I was able to get some free tickets through work. After the freebies wore out, he bought two tickets and we still went even though we now had to pay along with the other couple of hundred thousand friends we were with that day. The same guy that was lucky enough to land 10 tickets to the Brickyard every year through 2006. Lots of family and close friends were able to go the race and dad never let anyone pay for the tickets. He chalked it up to an early birthday present for everyone. He has said many times that he had as much fun seeing everyone go to the race as he did watching it also.
We quit going to the Brickyard mainly because dad having prostrate cancer and part of his colon removed from cancer there as well. He just couldn't sit for very long or stand the long walk from where we would park to the track. It really hurt him emotionally to not be able to go that the last race we as a group went to. It hurt each of us a little too even though we didn't admit to each other. We decided as a group that if he couldn't go, we didn't want to go either. It just wasn't the same. He always would have the group over for breakfast the day of the race. He and mom would cook eggs, toast, bacon, sausage on english muffins. We had a spread. We also had to leave at a certain time and if someone wasn't ready (mainly my sister) he would climb their butt about it. Even after the race, we had everybody over to eat either pizza or grill hamburgers on the grill as we watched the evening highlight shows of the race.
Dad's prostrate cancer had been in remission for a couple of years but has recently come back. The doctor said the best way to fight it now is through radiation and he has appointments scheduled in the coming days and weeks to begin the treatments. I think back to Bobby Hamilton and Benny Parsons who battled cancer. I remember that it wasn't the cancer that eventually led to their deaths but from suffering illnesses that occurred because of weak immune systems from the treatment of the cancer. This concerns me now as we enter the late fall and winter months. The doctor has said this is a relatively safe treatment and if the doctor didnt' feel it would extend his life with quality, he would not have recommended it.
Everything happens for a reason. I thought to myself why the good Lord had my son be born on the same day as my dad and thought that was cool. So I say "Happy Birthday" to a great guy that helped show me the trill of the racing. Happy Birthday dad.