Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Celebrating Poopdeck, Part 2.

Photo: Happy 70th Birthday to our patriarch (I can call him that now!) Daddy, thank you for making us laugh and think... and cry when you needed to! Thank you for teaching us and guiding us. Thank you for showing us how to help others... and by US, I mean ALL of us... Mommy, your kids, your grandkids, your friends, OUR friends... everyone who has crossed your path in these wonderful 70 years. WE LOVE YOU, T-Tone! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Okay. I'm still on the high of my dad's birthday so had a little more to share. I meant to post this a bit earlier but I've been on the phone with him all morning. Oh--and for those wondering why I call my dad "Poopdeck," here's where that comes from:

The old Popeye cartoons. Yep. One day I started calling him "Poopdeck Pappy" like Popeye called his dad and it just sort of stuck. I then abbreviated it to just "Poopdeck." So there you go. 


JoLai made this really cool collage of photos that you see above. How awesome are these snapshots? The top left quadrant has photos of Poopdeck with all of his kids--biological and by marriage. The top right quadrant is a walk down memory lane. My favorites are his little boy pictures and, of course, the super smooth Omega frat boy shot with the swanky Raybans and lapel pin.  Bottom left quadrant is the family including his whole brood of grandkids. And the lower right includes him and sweet Tounces (my mom), him trucking on one of his many power walks, and then a perfect example of him looking lovingly at JoLai both as a baby and as a law school graduate. 


So if you read my top 70, just use these pictures as a supplement, too.  Oh! And this. 

This is from when I interviewed my father for StoryCorps. I'm sure many of you have heard of StoryCorps and have likely cried while hearing it on NPR. I cherish this so much and I count it as one of my very best life experiences. What a gift not only to me to just listen to my dad in this way, but also to get a reintroduction to some of the people that made him who he is. 

I recommend that everyone consider doing a StoryCorps interview at some point in their life. I can't wait to let my boys hear this as men and love imagining them letting their kids hear it, too. 

I made a few minor edits to it, but it is mostly in the raw. Dad gave me his permission and, in fact, was eager to have it shared. More because he liked the idea of getting people talking to people they love. We now appreciate having things like this even more and love knowing that it might inspire someone else to do the same. 

Even if it leaves us a bit vulnerable. And this? It totally does.

But you know? Our loved ones--especially the older of them--have stories to tell. Even when we think otherwise, they have stories to tell that we've not yet heard or known.  And as the folks at Storycorps say: "Listening is an act of love." It so very is, isn't it?

This interview is the perfect punctuation to celebrating my father. He is simply wonderful and I am better for knowing him.

Happy 70th, Poopdeck. Again.

Learn more about StoryCorps and get information on doing your own here.


  1. Really understand how much and why you look up to your dad from these posts. Loved the interview. What a gift to him, you and your family. Happy Birthday Poopdeck! x0 N2

  2. I love Story Corps and really love this interview of you and your dad. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday to Poopdeck!


  3. Oh Kimberly. This is the best thing I may have ever heard.
    Thank you for sharing this good man with all of us.
    You have no idea...

  4. Happy, Happy, Birthday to your Dad who reminds me so much of my own!! :) As a side note, it's such a shame so many Black men never live this long (like my Dad who died at age 57), all the more reason to celebrate!

  5. Begin the day crying and end the day crying - but in such a good way. Thank you for sharing this. It was just beautiful. Happy birthday Mr Draper! Sweet Jo

  6. I was moved to tears as I read the 70 tributes to your father as I listened to your Storycorp interview. I've had thoughts of interviewing my father in the past. However, I'm motivated to conduct an interview when I return to Florida. I want to conduct his interview while he is still sharp. He will be 94 on November 28th. Thanks for sharing.
    Rudy Deveaux

  7. How beautiful was this? I'm tears and missing my daddy this morning.

  8. From the deck of the Poop,
    This is absolutely wonderful. Thanks for the many birthday wishes. If you listened to the interview, you can imagine how many tears and tissues I have gone through reading and listening to this.
    Thanks Dr. KD


  9. what a beautiful interview. I have a wonderful father too and I may list 90 reasons for his upcoming birthday. Thanks for the idea. Your father is a top notch son, brother, father, uncle, grandfather and friend...He has aced them all. Happy birthday!

  10. What a beautiful interview. Your family is surely something special. Very inspirational and encouraging. Your dad is a very complex yet simple man. I love the fact that he can express his emotions, verbally express his feelings and seem so masculine all at the same time. You guys have a lot to be proud of because I know it wasn't easy to do what your parents did in the era they grew up in.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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