Fourty-five years ago today a quiet, strong presence entered the world of mortals. His mother named him Vincent. "Vincent the conquerer". Not a more appropriate name could be attached to this man of quiet, clear strength. A man of few words to those in passing on the street but at home, his words are free flowing, kind, loving, funny, and more insightful than you would ever imagine upon first meeting him (and possibly even after a few meetings). He observes without judgment and rarely...rarely, feels the need to give you his opinion unless asked for clearly. His daughters...all four...think he hung the moon and most day's I'm in agreement (though, being the daddy's girl I am, I figure my own dad must have helped). (Look at these beauties for whom he's the apple of their eyes!)
This is the second year in a row Vinnie has been gone the week of his birthday. Though I miss him terribly (4 o'clock around here just isn't the same without our ears perched to listen for his truck to come up the drive) I'm ever so grateful that he is with his dad. They are high in the Utah mountains, overlooking the vastness of Colorado, on a hunting trip. This makes me laugh. Vince is NOT a hunter - no interest in the detestable, in my opinion, sport. But, his dad is a good, good man and he and Vince spent far too many years apart - living parallel lives that never quite met up. In the pre-dawn darkness, they don their cold-weather gear, mount their four-wheeled steeds and ride to where they will hunker down until after sunrise - hiding in the high mountain desert brush, quiet and still, waiting for unsuspecting victims. I'm thrilled to say they have had no luck. Vince doesn't mind a bit. He's there to be with his dad. Last year, bless his heart, he brought me back a bone. Yup. A cow femur. Me, being the weirdo that I am, just LOVED it. Bleached from who knows how long in the sun. Clean and white. It is on display year-round....not so much because of any specialness of it, per se, but mostly because Vince, my Vinnie, thought to notice it - then to pick it up - then to haul it all the way back to the truck - then to bring it across the high, parched deserts of Utah, Nevada and Oregon and finally home. Just for me. I know he's tender under that quiet, unassuming shell. But even in my knowing that, I'm still surprised from time to time at how intensely he sees...and gets the little things. The little things that are really, really big for me.
Happy Birthday, Vinnie.
"Whatever a man's age may be, he can reduce it several years by wearing a bright colored flower in his lapel."