I've given my staff the day off in honor of Mr. D's birthday. Kind of a bummer that it's a week day, but we'll have a proper birthday supper with CAKE! this weekend. He did open his presents this morning and felt sufficiently honored with new neckties, a few new dress shirts and a couple DVDs. I don't discuss Mr. D much in this space, but since it is his special day, I'll share a few of my favorite things about him:
1. His dancing. If you've seen him dance, you know he is enthusiastic, inventive, energetic and entertaining as hell. Most men his age would throw their back out doing the moves he does, but Mr. D's a natural athlete and can really shake down the house.
2. His coaching. He's the assistant coach because he likes being "the fun one" and not "the hard ass." His players LOVE him. The parents respect and adore him. The thing is, Mr. D gives really good advice, he's got a keen eye and can pick apart motion and teach a person how to do (or not to do) something better. It's pretty phenomenal to watch him enjoy something he's passionate about and quite skilled at.
3. His loyalty. While he does lay on the false flattery a little thick at times, Mr. D is one of the most fundamentally loyal people I know. If he's in your camp, you can count on him 100%. He'll level with you, too, which is a tough thing most people aren't willing to do.
4. His sense of humor. (True story: I could never live this long with someone who couldn't make me laugh almost every day.)
5. His energy. Occasionally you'll find someone appalled by how Mr. D can dominate a room, but the man is the life of any party and can really get a crowd going. He expects a lot of people, but he gives a lot. This makes him good at his job and in social situations.
6. His generosity. It truly inspires me.
7. Our conversations--we really can talk about almost everything under the sun. A couple times a week he'll come back from work in the morning and we'll enjoy coffee and a chit-chat. Even though we disagree on some of the big issues (politics, faith), there's enough intelligence and creativity between us to enjoy the similarities and differences.
8. His fearlessness. He was the one person in his family to fly farthest from the coop. He'll try anything once (with a few culinary exceptions). When his buddies were settling down and marrying their high school sweethearts, Mr. D left the safety of a small Iowa town for Chicago, with nothing but his car and what he could fit inside of it to Make His Way in the Windy City. His considerable success is the result of the personal and professional risks he is willing to take. He doesn't really fear much and when he considers the possibility of failure, he shrugs and figures it's nothing he can't overcome.
Happy Birthday, Big Daddy. Here's to YOU, since you're kind of a big deal to me.