50 years ago today, my dad entered this world. Nanni and Papa-Pete were moving to St. Louis from Corpus Christi, but even then, my dad knew he wanted to be born in Texas. He arrived before they could fly to STL, and his first days were spent in a tiny motel, using a dresser drawer as a crib. When he arrived in STL, he must have felt like royalty sleeping in the Culver family crib. These fifty years have been full of adventure, wonder, trials, and triumphs. In my 23 years in his life, I have learned many things from him. Dad, you have been a great role model and inspiration to me, and I wanted to share some fond memories I have with you!
1- You always know how to laugh and how to make others laugh.
2- You took reading very seriously as a child, and read stories to us when we were little!
3- You instilled faith and morals into our lives from the start.
4- You gave Matt and I some good looking genes.
5-You taught me to be brave. This family photo was taken right after I wiped out on my bike when I tried to ride no handed like you were.
6- You demonstrated that when you find a jacket you like, you should never get rid of it…
7- You were always willing to go the extra mile for us, especially by driving us to sport events all across Texas and Illinois and driving to watch games when we were older.
8- You had tea parties with me and my stuffed animals.
9- You taught us how to play tennis!
10- You taught us how to drive… and demonstrated how not to drive ;)
11- You gave us the Pelton sarcasm!
12- You reminded me that I am beautiful, smart, and funny when I needed to hear it.
13-I remember the time you made me a frame for the mirror full of adjectives that describe me.
14- You showed me that hard work and dedication pay off.
15- You gave us the opportunity to travel and see the world from other perspectives.
16- And… you taught us a plethora of choice words while trying to drive on the opposite side of the car and road. Thankfully, you raised us to know not to say those words!
17- I remember swimming in the Irish hotel with swim caps and eating duck and rabbit for the first time in a fancy restaurant.
18- You taught us how to play cards, Oh hell at reunions, Gin Rummy, etc.
19- You always cooked extravagant breakfasts and desserts. I remember the time you made bananas fosters, and I thought the house was going to burn down.
20- You always threw big celebrations for birthdays and accomplishments.
21- You taught us to be loyal sports fans.
22- You passed on the gene for doing the dishes. I remember waking up early to empty the dishwasher for you and mom, and now, I am still the dishwashing queen.
23- We built the coolest igloo one Christmas in Bloomington.
24- When we went fishing, you would always unhook the fish for me because I thought they were so gross.
25- You took us skiing and camping many times.
26- You and Joe set the example of food photography….now, I can barely eat without taking a picture of a delicious meal!
27- You gave us the opportunity to attend Culver and experience family tradition.
28- I am so thankful for all the family reunions we went on together!
29- You are the king of shaped pancakes!
30- Every Halloween, you carved pumpkins for us!
31- You have your unique sayings, like “As you wish my dish,” which I catch myself saying now and then.
32- I remember one night in high school you came home to “make coffee” because I was alone with a boy.
33- You allowed me to become an Aggie, after raising me as a Longhorn.
34- You dropped me off at Fish Camp my freshman year, and I was so sad to see you leave.
35- You gave me the gift of education and encouraged me to follow my dreams!
36- Thanks to Alex, you are never to old to wear wolf onesie footed pajamas…
37- You are patient.
38- You are a great uncle.
39- You introduced Bob and I to the St. Louis City Museum… it was so much fun!
40- You accepted Bob’s request to marry me and gave me a wonderful wedding to mark the beginning of my future with Bob.
41- You taught me to be myself and to love unconditionally.
42- You encouraged me to go to nursing school, and I am so glad I did!
43- You passed on your love for spicy foods.
44- We helped Matt organize and pack up for his move to Africa in St. Louis.
45– We celebrated Bob and I’s first married thanksgiving with you, Ann, and Nanni in College Station!
46- You cherish moments spent with our family.
This year, we celebrated your birthday early… a Colorado vacation in July when Matt, Bob and I were free from school and work. We went to Crested Butte, courtesy of Ann, who won a condo for a week’s stay during a raffle! I’m so glad we had the chance to celebrate this big occasion together in a beautiful city.
47- We went rafting!
49- Our most extreme activity was mountain biking!
50- Dad, I hope you have the best birthday ever. May these memories live on as we create more. Cheers to a happy and healthy future! Just remember, you are fifty years young. :)
Love, Kerry <3