Happy Birthday Pop! (9 September, 1921) I miss you. Nope, you were not perfect, but you were not terrible, either.
I hope you have made the acquaintance of Blake Green, since I really believe that between the two of you passed on dads, you guys shuffled the papers on Judge Little's desk until at 09:09 on 9 September 1999, he changed my pending divorce into full on.
Hard to believe it has been nine years since that! Even more strange to remember where I was at the exact moment the papers were signed by the good judge-I was at the rest stop on the FL-AL border agreeing to be Crusty's next of kin in case something untoward happened to him as he was posted back to permanent duty in a dangerous place. Not to mention that he had the sort of habits sure to make that place even more dangerous, but it really wasn't my look-out anymore, thank-you God, Pop, and Blake Green.
I drove down to the border in my 'hoopty car' (dunno why the kid called it that, it was pretty tired and had about another unsafe 250 miles left on it's master cylinder) and Crusty met me in his brand new Lincoln Town Car.
He gave me what was left of his freezer and dry foods (which I threw out at the fireworks stand on the way back into Dothan-it make me sick to look at, and I knew Matt was still not nor ever would be hungry enough to eat it either) and then he asked me if it was OK for him to list me as his next of kin.
I agreed, and on the drive home, decided if he croaked I was going to have him cremated at a pet crematory, put his ashes in a Folger's coffee can-he drank Maxwell House-and then I was going to plant said ashes in the town cemetery encased in tons of concrete. I'd top it with a tombstone reading "Don't Go Here" and not another word-no name, date, or any thing beyond the warning to let it be.
I'm pretty sure Crusty has a different listed next-of-kin after nine years.
And Happy Birthday, California. (9 September 1850)
I think I kinda miss you, too, but not in a "Gee, I wish I were there" kinda way.