A wish granted

Kyla's bib says, "Happy 70th birthday, Grandpa!"

Kyla’s bib says, “Happy 70th birthday, Grandpa!”

I can vividly recall a specific moment back in 2007, walking around my parents’ driveway with a heavy heart to match my heavy body,  desperately wanting to believe Dad could beat the cancer we’d all just learned about.

“If only he could live to be 70,” I thought, picking some seemingly far-off age at random.

That driveway’s gone now, plowed under for a home remodeling project, but Dad’s still here. And on Sunday he turned 70.

That’s not so old for a guy with a 100-year-old mother. Dad’s always looked and acted younger than he really is. Traci and I are still hoping he’ll do a sprint triathlon with us this year, despite his gimpy knees.

Our next project, though, is entering a team in this year’s Wells Weighs In contest. Colleen, now 10, is the instigator, hoping the third time is a charm in her efforts to slim down. I said I’d do it with her again this year, and Dad and Traci are coming aboard for the first time, partly to lose a few pounds put on over the holidays and partly for the chance to work out for free at the Y once a week.


Grandpa works on his second piece of birthday cake.

So in addition to a few games of round-robin ping pong, Dad spent his birthday “fattening up” before Thursday’s initial weigh-in — he had two pieces of cake and three servings of chocolate ice cream — and trying to get everybody to come up with a name.

“Nobody leaves until we come up with a name,” he announced, plunging into this latest contest with his usual gusto.

He was devastated when it turned out that Flabuless, a collaboration of Rowan and Darcy, turned out to be taken. Last I heard, the leading contender — which nobody wants to resort to — is a silly family nickname, The Skeezicks Koehlers. (Not sure if I spelled that right. Though I’ve heard it often enough over the years, I’ve never seen it written down.)

So the pressure’s on. We’ve got two days. And the perspective to realize how lucky we are to periodically get caught up in such silliness.

Grandpa and some of the grandkids on his 70th birthday.

Grandpa and some of the grandkids on his 70th birthday.

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