I phoned my dad for a pre-birthday chat and asked him if he had a birthday wish. Wouldn’t you know, the ONE thing he asked for I can’t give him because I’m 2,750kms away: he wants a portrait.
So I’m recruiting my brothers to do it and this is the next best thing: my favourite recent portrait that I shot at Christmas 2010, when I was there and had pneumonia. (If I didn’t have pneumonia, I would’ve taken more pictures.) That’s pretty recent, just 14 months ago and he still looks the same.
I was last there in December, but I took these photos in the restaurant just before we saw the Muppet Movie and everyone was in a goofy mood:
I’m posting this a day early, but nobody really knows my dad’s actual birthday (not even my dad) because during that time nobody kept track. They’re farmers, they only kept track of the farming season, nothing that specific. Also, the Japanese bombed the administrative buildings in the Philippines during World War II, so whatever records had been kept were lost, anyways. My dad was just a kid during WWII, but he remembers the snipers. I can only imagine what it would be like to grow up during a world war in a commonwealth of the United States while under Japanese occupation, but the family survived it and the Philippines became a republic in 1946. My parents immigrated to Canada in 1974. What a history, and that was less than half of his life gone by.
My brothers and I are supremely lucky to have grown up here. Life would’ve been a lot different for us if they hadn’t made such a move. Thanks, Dad.
Some other favourite portraits that I’ve taken:
That was followed by this photo, which still cracks me up:
(And if you think my dad looks good for 75, my Auntie Fely there at left in the photo is 82! Auntie Sophie in the middle has grandchildren in their 20s, and my Auntie Carol at the far right dances, swims, and plays tennis against MEN her age!)
Thankfully, my dad’s health is good and we will plan for many more birthdays to come.
Moved to Portugal Autumn 2013. Also lived in Australia, Scotland, and the USA. Native English speaker, learning Portuguese. Apologies to the locals for my terrible pronunciation!