Thursday, June 5, 2014

Joseph Francis

Happy birthday to my baby boy, my big son, my consultant and dear Joe.

A quarter-century ago + one day ago - I was eating a grilled pork chop and wondering if you would arrive on Marie's birthday.  The Beijing horror distracted me from the very obvious work at hand - delivering you to the world.  It is not lost on me, now, that you, too, would've soaked in the coverage, despising the tyranny, what was happening to the pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square.

Like those students, you are interested in freedom and liberty and I enjoy our random and, sometimes lengthy, conversations about these important core values.  I like the history lessons you share with me and how you connect the dots between countries and conquerors and help me draw more sophisticated conclusions about the world and my part in it.

Clearly you have evolved in the last quarter century...and I have, too.  Thanks for the birthday gift.  I am better because of you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Little Sis

Happy birthday to the only person in the world who made me an older sibling, my little sis, Marie!  Even as a six-year-old, I think I was fairly happy to make room for her.

When I visited her many years ago during the workday, I found her in the corner office, big windows looking out on the downtown Minneapolis traffic.  As she sat in her director's chair, it occurred to me that the "catching up" phase of our lives was over.  She had clearly surpassed me in so many ways.  (As an IT person at the time, I had barely a broom's closet in an internal hallway to hang my work hat.)

Even today, I find her humble and refreshing on her approach to her work, to her life.  And I really, really like her candor.  As the baby of our big family, she calls most of the family shots and is always brief, firm, and accurate.  And then she says something hilarious.  Love you, PMR!
On the dance floor in Dubuque, on Danny's dime!