I was six years old in 1986 when Haley’s Comet passed over Palo Alto. It came overhead at about 4:00 in the morning, and I was there watching it, atop one of the Stanford hills near Highway 280, with my father.
My father had woken me, had driven us through the early morning March frost, and had climbed with me to the top of the tallest hill we could find, away from noise and light pollution, next to a single barren oak that I can still for some reason vividly remember.
We stood there, and we watched Haley’s inch along overhead, and my father told me that Haley’s wouldn’t come around for another 75 years, that he wouldn’t be alive to see it, but that he had brought me out that early morning so that I might, at age 81 or 82, be one of those few people lucky enough to see it twice in their lives.
I think of that morning sometimes, and it makes me think of all the selfless, wonderful, giving things my father did while my brother and I were growing up, and that he still does today.
So, each July 14th, on his birthday, I hope that at least some small measure of all that giving turns back his way, and that he gets exactly the day and the toys and the fun and the love and the adventure that he’s hoping for.
So, to my father:
Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, You look like a monkey, No, seriously, you look like a monkey, especially given the ridiculous amount of body hair you have.