Daddy’s Birthday

daddy-10007Were he living, my father would’ve celebrated his one hundredth birthday yesterday. He was born Oct. 1, 1916 to Virley Maxwell Kirk and Arnold Burtis Clay Kirk. He was their third child and his mother was just twenty-one. She would go on to have six more children.

I celebrate his birth every day in my memory. No one had more influence on me. As a little girl, I thought he was the handsomest man in the world. Then as I grew up, I thought he was the smartest man in the world.

He didn’t care much for celebrating his birthday. He never indulged himself, didn’t splurge, seldom took a day off. But on his birthday he would allow himself one minor pleasure: he’d come home from work and watch the World Series game when one happened to fall on his birthday as it often did in the 1950’s when the World Series was played in early October during the day, not late October at night like today.

I remember walking home from Wiley school, seeing Daddy’s car outside and being so excited to see him. I’d walk in and there he’d be relaxing (something he seldom did) on the sofa, smoking a cigarette, watching the Brooklyn Dodgers/NY Yankees game. He was a Yankees fan so of course, I was, too.

On October 1, 1952, in the opening game of the series, the Dodgers beat the Yankees although the Yankees won the series. On October 1, 1953, the Yankees beat the Dodgers 4 to 2. Knowing the family love of gambling, Daddy probably had money on the Yankees. True to form, after the game was over, Daddy went back to work. It would be too indulgent to make a day of it.

Baseball and boxing were the only two sports he enjoyed watching. Live boxing was televised on Monday nights and he’d watch the matches with great concentration. Or was he pretending to watch while lost in thoughts about something else given he, too, was an INFP.