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june 13th a personally designed digital birthday card for my dad. Angela Gervasi (with additional photo curation by the artist known as Marian*)

*she emailed me the photos

Dear Dad, I know you didn’t expect a book, or a card, and that you and Mom never ask for gifts. But every time June rolls around, I realize that I’m almost never home for your birthday, or for Father’s day. I’m either in Rome, or in Cuba getting appendicitis, and now I’m in Kentucky, which we all know is probably the last place in the would in which I belong. Anyway, I couldn’t print a book in time like I did for Marian, but the internet exists for a reason so here’s a few things I thought would make you smile on your birthday. #1. (This is an easy one) I will bet you $20 that Mom will insist on singing happy birthday to you, and she’ll try to do the “cha cha cha” thing in between each verse, even though it’s not 2005 anymore. #2. I can also bet that Marian is very proud and smug and pleased with herself for helping me make this card, without telling you about it. She’s such a sleuth!

Remember when I begged and begged to be in the Mummers Parade because I wanted to be on TV? Also, remember when you danced to Uptown Funk in the Mummer’s meeting and looked like Marian?

thank you for challenging my views (like, all the time) I know we have tons of debates, and usually I am right, but even so, you’ve taught me for years to think critically and carefully. This has helped me as a writer, a thinker, and a person. It’s rare that I stand up to people the way I stand up to you when you say something I don’t agree with. But in the rare instances where I yell at my 80-year-old college professor or the frat guys who kept putting beer bottles in our recycling cans, it’s because you always taught me to be assertive and unapologetic.

“Beyoncé IS a good singer why don’t you ever understand!” - Me at the dinner table while Marian and Mark roll their eyes because we’re debating again and they just wanted to eat dinner to be honest

thank you for always listening Whenever Marian reads my writing, she says “Oh, Annie, I love it!” which is great. But I also appreciate that you really thoroughly read everything I write and even make suggestions. Last time I asked you to read something I’d written, you caught an error that my own writing professor didn’t even see. The attention you and Mom and Mark have given to my writing has been so encouraging. Even though you’re a CPA, you have a great eye for writing and words, and I thank you for that, and for always believing in my writing.

thank you ...for not only making every ballet recital, school musical, baseball game, and awards ceremony...

...but for traveling halfway around the world (literally) just to hang out and eat some pizza in Naples...

...or some mango paletas in Mexico...or some grits in Kentucky.

(Good thing we don’t resort to eating salads everywhere like Marian does!)

thank you

thank you for teaching us from a very young age to explore the different and fantstic corners of the world...

thank you ...and for walking slowly with me on every hike while Marian and Mark power walk ahead.

Dear Dad, I know we have our differences, but I couldn’t ask for a better support system. Although we tease you for taking those dramatically long pauses at the dinner table to chew your food before saying something prophetic, I really do appreciate hearing your different stories and points of view. You make us laugh (and make Marian cackle), and you make us think. Most of all, you love us unconditionally. Sorry in advance for when you have to fly down to either Cuba, Mexico or Argentina to hang out, but I’m looking forward to it. We love you so much, and I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, with an extra dash of Marian shenanigans. Love, Angela

Happy Birthday  
Happy Birthday