Happy 90th birthday, Dad. And thanks for the skiing.

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 03/26/13 •  2 min read

Greetings from sunny Florida.

Seriously. I know it’s still ski season, but here I am in the land of oranges, gators, and Mickey Mouse. Why? I flew in to help celebrate my Dad’s 90th birthday. But trust me, keep reading. This is about skiing — I promise.

First, a bit about my Dad. Take all your preconceived notions about 90 year olds and pitch them over the side. That’s not my Dad; you have to start with a clean slate. Because even though he’s been on the planet for 90 years, he’s really more like twenty years younger.  At least.  This morning, for example, he went out to play 18 holes of golf. He swims half a  mile four times a week. He builds and flied remote controlled airplanes. He walks, bikes, and essentially does whatever he wants. He’s going for a cruise to the Panama Canal tomorrow. I only hope I can be as active if — and when — I reach his great age.

And here’s where the skiing comes in. You see, my Dad is the one who started me skiing. And for that, I owe him big time.

My Dad was never a great skier ability-wise, but he had a lot of enthusiasm, and as any parent knows, that can go a long way. When I was 13, Dad decided to take the family skiing at a small hill in New York state. The hill had a rope tow; it dragged me up the mountain, and I fell all the way down. The whole experience was awful: the long straight skis, the lace up boots, those bear trap bindings (yes, I’m that old).  Yes, there were even tears. My sister, however, picked it up right away, and my competitive spirit egged me on.  I persevered because I wanted to be better than she was. And since she now lives in Florida and hasn’t been near a ski hill in a million years, today I am.

Dad  doesn’t ski anymore. My parents also moved to Florida a long time ago. When I call and ask how he’s doing, he’ll say, “Another day in paradise.” But when I tell him I’ve been skiing, he gets this wistful tone in his voice and says. “Boy, I wish I could be there with you, too.”

I do, too, Dad. Thanks for a million things. And thanks especially for the skiing.

And yeah, Happy Birthday, too.