Today was the 74th birthday of my Dad or "Backroads" as Cal and his friends have affectionately nicknamed him due to his ability to take backroads everywhere and get lost at least a 1/3 of the time. In thinking about it he actually has had many nicknames over the years - Muss, Motts, Muffer - but the one that has stuck the longest has been Grandpa Cutes. Since my Mom always called my Dad "Cutes", Brett thought that was his name and when he was eighteen months old the moniker "Grandpa Cutes" was born. I honestly never thought it would last as long as it has. I figured when Brett got to school age he would drop it and we would move on to Grandpa Musser or even the less formal Grandpa Bill.
By the time Brett entered kindergarten, however, Cal was a toddler and at that point the name Grandpa Cutes had no chance of leaving. The boys knew my Dad as no other and until Cal and Jayce started calling him "Backroads" I never heard any of the Heinisch children call him anything else. As strange as the name may seem to others, the name just seems to fit my Dad.
We celebrated his birthday yesterday since Cal was home. Meg and Cam gave him his family favorites - sour cherries and circus peanuts. Cal's gift was outside the norm - a Milford basketball jersey complete with name and number. My Dad had one from years before, but somehow it came up missing several years ago. We still aren't sure if Cal loaned it to Stephen and it was never returned or if the washer ate it. Either way we were pleased to be able to replace it. My Dad's proud of his alma matter and we were glad to help him "be true to his school."
As Doug stated later in the evening, "You're Dad is the youngest 74 year old I know." Whether it is his good health or his ability to relate to the Heinisch children, my Dad is young for his age. We appreciate that about him as well as his love and support for our family. Without him life would definitely be boring - who else would change the wrong flat tire or use Diet Pepsi for divot repair. He's told me many times over the years "Life is a story"- he's definitely provided us with many.