Happy Birthday, Daddy-o

August is our month for birthdays: first Camille, then Dad, next Chelsea...and that's just the Vander Kooi's side. This past Saturday, we celebrated Dad's fifty-seventh with him! For this special day, I decided to return to my old card making days. I'm not quite sure when this little tradition began, but years ago I made my dad a card with a birthday poem, which he loved, so I would often do that for him. You have to know something about my dad to really understand why he thinks this is so great: He loves funny cards. He really does. He loves buying them, and he loves receiving them. He puts them up on the mantle for months and shares them with everyone. For some people, getting the card is just something you have to do to finish up your gift, but for my dad, the card is what makes the gift.

Here's the 2010 birthday poem, complete with plenty of inside jokes that few will understand.

It’s been a few years

Since I’ve written a rhyme,

But in honor of you, Dad,

I think it’s time.

Your birthday is something

For which we all cheer—

Without it, four of us

Wouldn’t be here!

So to properly say

How much your life has meant,

Here’s what you’ve taught us,

Worth more than two cents.

You’ve taught us that food

Truly gets to the heart.

A perfect grilled steak

Hits it right on the mark.

In fact, nothing better says

Fun party time

Than a steak and rib barbecue

And a little John Prine.

About haircuts, we’ve learned

The difference between

A good one and bad one

Is simply two weeks.

As for what’s garbage,

That just depends—

If it can be salvaged,

Everyone (‘cept Mom) wins.

Concerning the doggies,

We know how to please!

We’ve learned from the master:

Hotdogs and cheese.

If outnumbered (like you were)

We’ve learned how to beat ‘em:

Don’t fight it, just give in,

And watch “Drop Dead Diva.”

You’ve taught us

A comical card saves the day,

And a little good humor

Goes a long way.

You’ve taught us that things

Don’t always go right,

But at the end of the tunnel,

There’s always a light.

This and much more

You’ve imparted to us,

So thanks for the wisdom

And thanks for the love.

There’s one last tidbit

That’s a favorite to hear:

“I get better looking

Every year!”


  1. HAHA! Candace, that is fabulous!

  2. Such a good poem this year! What a lucky dad to have such a creative, talented daughter liked you!


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