Tuesday, March 9, 2010


My Dad's 70th birthday is today. My sister suggested we have a dinner for him at a steakhouse that he and my Mom love. I thought it was a great idea because I figured my Mom didn't want to deal with the hassles that a party brings along.  So, I spoke to Mom to see if that sounded good to her. She confirmed that she didn't want a party and that a dinner would be wonderful. Mom finally decided who she wanted to invite...and we ended up pulling off the surprise. I thought he was going to find out or guess countless times. My younger brother had me convinced mere hours before the party that Dad knew. But, he was just kidding. So we were able to surprise him, which is kind of awesome.

I thought one or all of us should get up and say something to honor my Dad. But, I stole an idea from a blog I read and decided that instead we could do 70 Random Facts about him rather than a formal speech. So, without further ado, here are 70 random facts about Dad, brought to you by my entire family:

  1. He was born in 1940.
  2. His Dad died when he was 18.
  3. Because of that and the financial effect on his mother, he insisted my mother go to college and get her nursing degree when we were all little.
  4. He always said that this would enable her to tell him to go “shit in his hat” if she ever needed to. And she's needed to several times.
  5. He graduated from college with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Animal Husbandry.  That's come in real handy on the old homestead.
  6. He was in the Army.
  7. His mother set him up with my mother. Well, sort of. Nana got a lot more than she bargained for – she just was looking for a pen pal for him when he was stationed in Korea.  Instead, she found him a wife.
  8. Some time into his courtship with Mom, she cooked dinner for him and her father. He ate an entire meal of hamburgers that were burnt on the outside but raw on the inside and hollow peas. Asked for seconds.
  9. He introduced Mom to H&J and all of their kids. H&J were so kind to my mom and my Dad never forgot it.
  10. Because they were so kind to her, the only children invited to their wedding were H&J's kids.
  11. When Mom and Dad were newlyweds, H&J went on a cruise and Mom and Dad babysat. It was an enlightening experience in childcare.
  12. Until this year, he has always claimed to be two years younger than he actually is because he was sick for two years and says they don’t count.
  13. Until my brother got to be a bigwig in the PD, you could Google my dad's name and find a study that was done on his blood because of said childhood illness.
  14. He spent a long time in Rockefeller University Hospital and could see the 59th Street Bridge from his hospital room. He counted the lights on said bridge. He tells me this every time he drives me home.
  15. He’ll eat just about anything. No matter how long it’s been in the fridge.
  16. He built the extension on their house.
  17. He loved being a cop but retired from the job so he could afford to pay for his children’s college education. None of whom did 4 and out after high school. Sorry about that, Dad.
  18. He has two sisters and a brother.
  19. He is the baby of his family and his sister would threaten neighborhood bullies on his behalf.
  20. He knows everyone.  Or so it seemed when we were a teenagers trying to get away with stuff.
  21. His wife is his best friend.  And soul mate.
  22. He will celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary this May.
  23. He has three children, a daughter in law and two perfect grandsons.
  24. He had champagne waiting in the hotel room on their honeymoon and my mom thought it was from her parents.
  25. He quit smoking – cold turkey – after 50 years about 20 minutes before he was checked into the hospital for valve replacement and bypass surgery. Pretty sure he didn’t know that would be his last cigarette.
  26. He has a very small needle in his heart.  Yeah, from that surgery.
  27. He played math games at the dinner table with us.
  28. One of his quit smoking techniques was to have a bunch of cigarettes in a glass jar in water, which he kept on a kitchen shelf in full view of the dinner table.  It was disgusting and I can't believe that one didn't take.
  29. He reads three newspapers most days.
  30. He misses having a dog.
  31. All of his proudest moments are from his wife and children’s accomplishments. (Not sure if any of us will beat how he felt when his son was named Chief.)
  32. He dropped his firstborn twice.
  33. He scarred his daughter by catching her leg on an open nail in the “custom-made bed.”
  34. That was during the month he spent every weekend at the Hospital Emergency Room - 1st the oldest stepped on a nail, then he injured me, then the youngest ate poisonous berries. He was sure that they were going to call Child Protective Services.
  35. He laughs when he speaks of his youngest son getting into 5 car accidents before he turned 5.
  36. He thinks it’s funny that his cute, sweet daughter in pigtails threatened her older brother with, “Get out of my room or I’ll break your face.”
  37. He is impressed that his eldest son was able to mix the color on the red paint when he was about 2. Didn’t really care that they boy painted the oil burner, washer and dryer with said paint. Mom – not impressed and did care. A lot.
  38. He gave his wife Mace for protection back in the day when civilians couldn’t carry the stuff.
  39. He did not think that Child Protective Services was going to be called when his three children decided to spray the stuff in an enclosed vehicle in the Waldbaums parking lot when she went in for “just one thing” and came out a ½ hour later to her three kids outside of the car coughing and crying.
  40. He coached little league for both of his sons.
  41. When Mom was working and going to Nursing School, Dad spent two years being my brownie mom - he came to all the meetings, did my birthday cupcakes. I thought it was a little embarrassing but every brownie mom loved having him there.
  42. He’s been a volunteer fireman for 40+ years. Although, now he’s fire police.
  43. He is Chief Elf for the FD Christmas party. And, always has been. Even for the about 20 years that he didn’t have a kid/grandkid getting a present.
  44. He hates when husbands refer to their wives as the “old ball and chain” or other less than flattering terms.
  45. He got lists from his wife every weekend and procrastinated till the last minute not knowing his wife would be happy if he got two things done on the list.
  46. He will never say no to his children and seems genuinely happy to do anything they ask.
  47. He built beautiful doll houses for many years.
  48. He told his children for four years straight he was getting a boat and then mom said we were and everyone knew the time had come.
  49. He has a reputation for being a great street cop.
  50. He is honest and has a lot of integrity.
  51. He is the patriarch of a very loving family.
  52. He Loves Jeopardy.
  53. He sang to his children and played lots of games with them.
  54. He worked hard and often times two jobs.
  55. He took his family on beautiful vacations.
  56. He loves his new winter hat, the first ever to be sanctioned by Mom.
  57. He cannot wait to by Spyder jackets for his grandsons each year.
  58. And, this year he was happy to buy snow boots and snow pants for their snowboarding lesson.
  59. Every video game he ever played was his best game ever.
  60. He is now the proud owner of a BMW convertible. With whom he currently only has visitation, but custody will be returned soon.
  61. He calls himself Unkie Tom.
  62. He was distraught when the Dodgers left Brooklyn.
  63. He was delighted when the Mets came around and has been a die hard fan ever since.
  64. Although everyone got in trouble for it, Susie was the one who peeled the paint off the back of the bathroom door.
  65. We all hated driving with him on Sundays because we were forced to listen to Fordham's Irish music program.
  66. On a camping vacation to New Hampshire and Vermont, we took Dad's niece with us. Mom and Dad got into a fight and she was very upset because she thought the vacation was over...she was shocked that Mom and Dad made up quickly and the vacation continued. From that day forward she call us the Cosby family - all problems solved in 25 minutes.
  67. He's the first call for his children, nieces and nephews, and various close friends of his children when they get into trouble (and they do).
  68. The first time Dad went to Vegas was with his mother and father-in-law - he and Poppy thought they died and went to heaven.
  69. He invented no thank you portions for his children - and any underage visitor who joined us for dinner. Although per Mom, there were two exceptions to the no thank you rule: liver and lima beans.
  70. He has been our biggest cheerleader and fan throughout the years and taught each of us that we could do anything that we put our minds to.
For all of these reasons and a million more, today we honor my dad - husband, father, poppy, brother, uncle, friend and all around great guy. We love you, Dad. Happy 70th birthday.


  1. I was just catching up on your blog posts - love them, but you knew that! :) Several things on your list of 70 things about your dad made me laugh out loud!! First of all, I haven't heard "go shit in your hat" or any derivative thereof in a million!! Ha ha ha! Animal husbandry, every weekend in the ER, mace, brownies, Irish music program and the no thank you rule I may just put into effect here.... What a great idea, Katie! I really enjoyed it! :)

  2. Hey Katie I know this post is very very late buy I wanted you to know it was beautiful. I know that was my sister you were talking about on the camping trip, I remember. And like anonymous above, I love the expression "go shit in your hat". Dad used it often and it cracks people up all over the country (and England) when I use it on occasion. Apparently it's a regional thing. My dad also said he cried when the Dodgers left Brooklyn. Are your cousins the Baileys? I remember the no thank you portions too. And I take it H&J are Hectarine and Jim? Wonderful, wonderful people.....this was a beautiful piece, Katie.