Here’s To You, Dad!

HS GraduationToday is my father’s birthday, Modern Philosophers.

While Big Austin has been gone for some time now,  February 11 will always be his special day.

I think about Dear Old Dad, as he liked to refer to himself, quite often, but on his birthday, it is impossible to get him off my mind.

My Dad was the kindest, most easy going person I have ever met.  He was always in a good mood, I don’t ever recall a time that he raised his voice, and there was always a smile on his face.

Dad was the guy who called everyone “Chief”, could make a total stranger smile, and never spoke poorly of anyone.

Except for the cat.  Whenever Dad would break wind, he would immediately admonish the poor cat for it.

That was my Dad, the man who taught me a good fart joke.

My stepbrother used to call him “Horizontal Hodgens” because he liked to recline on the living room couch when watching TV.

Schaefer BeerOne of the odder facts that sticks in my Deep Thoughts about my father was that he drank Schaefer Beer.

Schaefer had a plant in Brooklyn, down in the old neighbor, and I believe my Uncle Jimmy worked there.  Because of the family connection, there was always Schaefer in the house.

I am pretty sure the beer is still around, but I’ve never known anyone other than my Dad and my Uncles to drink the stuff.

Maybe it’s just a Brooklyn thing.

Dad died on the last day of my Sophomore year at NYU.  I was moving out of the dorm when I got the news.

That was the last day I lived in that dorm when I wasn’t the President of the Residence Hall Government.  I was Dorm President my Junior and Senior years, and I know Dad would’ve been proud of his shy, awkward son for finding the courage to step up to be a leader of his fellow students.

Dad was a driving force behind my majoring in Film at NYU.  While my stepmother tried to convince me to major in something more practical like Accounting, since I was good at Math, Dad encouraged me to chase my dreams.

Dad in WhiteHe was always supportive of my writing, and he loved that his only son wasn’t going to follow in his footsteps and work at the bank.

I’ve always had this weird theory that I’ve written so many stories about bank heists because I’m mad at the bank for taking the best year’s of Dad’s life.

I definitely inherited his sense of humor, and while I might not be the outgoing people person that he was, I can use the written word to be almost as charming as the man after whom I am named.

My passion for the Yankees and The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame also come from Austin, Sr.  I still get a little crazy when either team is involved in a big game, and that is definitely a giveaway that I am my father’s son.

One huge regret I have is that I’ve never become a father.  I wanted so badly to honor my namesake by being the same kind of father to my children, and tell them about their amazing Grandfather, who I’d turn into an epic superhero in my stories.

FootballBefore I tear up too much, let me wrap up this post by raising an imaginary bottle of Schaefer and toasting the Birthday Boy.

I love you, Dad, and I miss you so much.

Happy Birthday in Heaven.

Love always,

Little Austin

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Love, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Here’s To You, Dad!

  1. I am proud of you and your memories of your dad. More people should have them as you have them. My dad passed away several years ago, and I miss him all the time. We always tell “Big Ed” stories, bringing his spirit back to us all the time. That’s what you did, too.

  2. D. Parker says:

    He sounded like he was a great Dad, not just a father. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your memories of your Dad with us, Austin. Cheers! 🙂

  3. ksbeth says:

    very sweet, austin. a tribute from one handsome man to another. he does sound special and it’s clear there was a lot of love there. don’t give up on being a father yet, you never know…

  4. Glazed says:

    He looks to me a little like the father on that History Channel show, Pawn Stars. Sounds like he was a good man to know. Sorry you lost him while you were so young.

  5. Pamela Edwards says:

    Thxs for sharing that Austin ! It was really wonderful . You have many happy memories of your Dad . He sounds like he was the greatest Dad , you were very lucky to have him . ☺

  6. rowanaliya says:

    This is very touching. Happy birthday Big Austin! I think he would be very proud to see all you have accomplished. You may not consider yourself outgoing but it is brave to put your writing out there for all of us to read everyday. In doing so you may be having a more of an impact on more people’s lives than you realize. That is no small thing. I’d say Big Austin taught you well, so cheers!

  7. Debi Rotmil says:

    Happy birthday to you dad. Very touching. It would have been an honor to know him.

  8. Marneymae says:

    Very sweet post

  9. A touching post, Austin.

    Your dad will be so proud of you! 🙂

    It’s amazing that you have such wonderful memories!

    I love the old pics, too. The last one is very sweet!

  10. markbialczak says:

    Great tribute to Austin Sr., Junior. Now I will say a few words to your dad.

    I will raise an imaginary Rheingold to you, Mr. Hodgens, a Mets fan paying respect to a Yankees fan with his old Mets-sponsor beer. I think you would get a kick out of that one by the way Junior describes your kind heart and sense of humor. And I want to pitch in that you raised one hell of a writer. Smart move urging him to stick with Film Writing at NYU, Mr. Hodgens! Junior makes a lot of people happy here with his blog writing every single day. Happy Birthday up there, Mr. Hodgens. Say hello to Casey Stengel for me, please!!

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