70 Things for Dad, Excerpted

It’s my dad’s birthday today, and a milestone one at that. In honor of his 70 years on the planet, I wrote him 70 Things. They’re concentrated in his most recent 33 years, however. 🙂
So to celebrate Dad, here are some of the 70 Things:

  • Guitar and camp songs on winter Thursdays, by the blue and orange flames of the gas fireplace
  • The Cosby Show. Who knew that the TV worked in the evening?
  • Shining shoes while watching the Cosby Show.


  • Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa Hanson’s: A reading from you, some carols from Rod, endless fun with the stuffed draft-stopper snakes, and a whole lot of warmth in that little house.
  • Getting to navigate from the AAA TripTik on our trips out West and to Tennessee. I loved to follow that highlighted yellow line, and I still could pore over maps all day.
  • BLT’s on the Yellowstone trip. I was on a real BLT kick at that point.
  • Striking it rich in Deadwood, thereby teaching my poker playing brother a thing or two about gambling.
  • Your well-loved briefcase, handle reattached, seams straining at times, carrying the work that ended up carrying so many of us.
  • The way you live your faith first, and talk about it second.
  • You putting together the computer desk in our Creek View Drive dining room. Furniture assembly was one of the rare occasions we’d get to hear you say, “DAMN!”…multiple times…with emphasis!
  • Hikes to the Sunday night campfire as a little girl. The BIG hill that would never end…and then the tiny fire in the distance. Then the warmth, the glow, the cool air and sweatshirts and flashlights with switches so tempting.
  • And then the opportunity to turn them on, point them straight up, and shine them on you…but not on your face.
  • And then the words that pull me through when little else will. I am somebody. Somebody. Not because of anything I’ve done or anything I deserve, but because I AM, in God’s own image. Because God is, and God is love, and I am held – as we all are – in a cosmic embrace stronger and more assured than any doubt, failing, or uuuggggly feeling.
  • Grandma Hanson’s strawberry corner and strawberry cutout cookies served at breakfast. Revolutionary. At home I had to bargain pretty hard for cookies before lunch…
  • Grandpa Hanson’s clippin’ chair in the front porch.
  • Taking Grandma Hanson out for dinner and to see the Christmas lights in La Crosse. I remember caroling as we drove her home.
  • The road care packages Mom would make you before recruiting season. I was always enthralled by the little containers of snacks and gum. Only now do I realize what a task it is to stay alert for that much driving.
  • You coaxing me to eat “Ein Potato” on my first trip to East Germany. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t receptive…
  • The concept of Kinder Kaffee…I could not fathom why anyone, young or old, would want to consume such a bitter beverage. Two decades later, I’m on board with coffee, for Kinder or not.
  • Learning that life is very different in other parts of the world, and yet so similar in the fundamentals. I am so glad I got to see, at a young age, that not everyone lives as freely as we do and that the actions of both government and individuals do matter.
  • As horrific as it was, I’m glad that you and Mom let me go to Buchenwald and Auchwitz. It is so important to see the awful end result of allowing oneself to think of other humans as not human.
  •  The way you love new toys: iPads, iPhones,  and a sleek, sunroof-sporting iMpala.
  • The way you stay engaged with an interested in the world around you, even when it defies logic or grace.
  • If I remember right, your seminary professor said that you should read the Bible with the newspaper in the other hand. In this you excel, and I think your level-headed insights have helped a lot of us find clarity.
  • The labyrinth of teetering yet well-sorted piles that was your tiny Creek View Drive office.
  • The way you’d let me come in and use your awesome vintage-1985 digital calculator. Magic.
  • The number of places you’ve yet to go, roads you’ve yet to drive, cafes with made-from-scratch pie and fresh ice cream you’ve yet to discover.
  • The years of life, interest, engagement, and love yet to come. May you soak them up day by day and let the gratitude overflow.

Love you, Dad.  I’m so glad we have more years to share!

And if you’re NOT my dad but know him, wish him a happy 70th. 🙂


About solveighanson

I'm a (late) thirtysomething Plant Breeding Ph.D. student, daughter / sister / auntie, vegetable fan, yogi, sometime cyclist, and enthusiastic if infrequent baker. I started this blog in the summer of 2010 to trace my recovery from a pelvic fracture sustained in a cycling accident. That healing process was truly transformative, and since then I seem to have written mostly about the transformations that have followed. And hence the title of the blog: Don't call me a butterfly, because I'm not done changing.
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7 Responses to 70 Things for Dad, Excerpted

  1. Arik Hanson says:

    If my daughter writes a post or letter or note to me when I’m 70 (assuming I make it that long) like this, I will treasure it forever. And, I’m sure your Dad will do the same.

  2. Sandy says:

    How special to see this message and your list. Bob and I are taking your mother and dad out to Quivey’s Grove tomorrow evening (Friday) to celebrate his 70th. What a privilege it is to know you and your family. God bless!
    Sandy Courter

  3. Janice Bahr says:

    Hey. Happy Birthday Solveig’s dad. I knew and worked for Solveig when she was in Iowa. You have a wonderful daughter.

  4. Lindsey Anderson says:

    Solvig, that was beautiful. All of it. Your dad will always have a soft spot in my heart. He will always be “my favorite boss.” Bethel Horizons has been my favorite chapter in my life thus far.

  5. Bjorn says:

    Well put, sister! And Happy Birthday, Dad!

  6. Ruth says:

    Great memories! Glad I’ve been a part of lots of them.

  7. jane says:

    Have a Great Day and enjoy the memories and know that more are to come in the years ahead

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