Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Birthday to Someone Special

Today is Keith's birthday so this seems a fitting day to share him with you.  We have a long term relationship that seems to be one of those "destiny" type things. While I love him and care for him dearly, and all that usual stuff, above all, I really admire him. THAT'S why I decided to make him my topic today.  He's pretty unique.

My freshman year of college, I joined the marching band. It was really my parent's idea so that I "could meet new people" before school started. However, I'm pretty sure they didn't mean meet a guy and fall in love. (Click the link if you want to know more about our courtship.)

To say that he is complicated, may just be the understatement of the year! His life has been a series of constant adaptations, but underneath it all, some things have remained constant; things such as love of family, a gift of music, talent in solving puzzles - especially in technology, and a frustration with limits of any kind.

There are several things I admire about Keith. He is extremely intelligent and grasps concepts quickly, especially in math and science. He enjoys figuring out new things and uses this skill in his work creating assistive technology devices and doing computer programming.

Keith is a gifted musician, much self-taught. He plays guitar and piano, but his real gift is singing. He sings a wide variety of songs.  The fact that he used to play his guitar and sing when we were dating won my heart.  He's very talented leading church music and worship services because he has an uncanny grasp of how to plan things to make the most impact. He is able to get inspired music out of the average choir, but his voice is amazing. Many are touched when he sings things such as "Oh, Holy Night!" and favorite Christian songs. He has been a member of The Thoroughbred Chorus. (an internationally known barbershop chorus) and enjoyed singing with them.

The most admirable trait he has is that he keeps going, even when facing adversity. He lost his vision in 1983, at the age of  26. At the time, he was a seminary student. We had a baby with one on the way. Many would have given up, yet this became a series of obstacles that he overcame. First he had to learn mobility (independent travel with a cane) and braille. All this, while at the same time, facing a devastating life change. He didn't give up. Fortunately, this was in the early pioneer days of speech for computers. This allowed him to write his own papers for school.  When he didn't think the program went quite the way he wanted, he figured out how to tweak it, which required learning computer programming. 

Each adversity in his life is seen as a challenge, one he meets and often surpasses. The self-taught computer skills he developed helped not only himself, but was instrumental in developing a program that has since reached countless number of others. When we wanted a deck, he built one. When the garden was overgrown with weeds, he got in the middle of it and cleared them out. Keith enjoys walking, riding a bike, and is on a bowling league. He travels independently for work, not allowing his blindness to be an excuse to stay home.

As the years have passed, he's been a great dad and granddaddy and a positive role model.  He's a real hands-on dad, not afraid to get down on the floor to be a horse, play blocks, or build things. The grandchildren (see pictures below) love walking to the playground with him, especially when they stop for ice cream on the way home!

One of the strongest examples of my admiration for him has been our friendship, one that has endured over 35 years since we met my freshman year in 1976. Why is this a surprise? Because although we were married in 1980, we got a divorce 23 years later! YET we remained best friends. At first, there was the common decision that we put our kids first and did things for them. But in reality, we have always been able to talk to the other one. Who else knows us better? A few years ago, I moved to his house. How many couples do you know that have done that?
  Happy Birthday to Someone Very Special!
Avery sure loves Granddaddy!
Elijah "riding a horse"

Noah  and Isaiah enjoy ice cream after walking to the park 

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to Keith!! He is one awesome man!!I really admire him too. He is such an example to the rest of us!


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