Pinterest really isn't a waste of time...well, okay, sometimes it is...but, I found this idea "pinned" on an idea board on Pinterest and knew that it was something I needed to pursue for Marion's 75th birthday!
So, it began...in September of 2011, when most of the Ryan family was together in Boise to watch a BSU game, and just have a little party, we began to brainstorm (and did a lot of reminiscing) about all of the people Marion has had, and still has, in his life. It was not entirely an easy task...because, well, he has truly lived life!
From his childhood in Missouri, to adolescence (and finding his love) in Payette, Idaho...then his Air Force days...back to Idaho, then to Prosser, Washington...up to St. Maries, Idaho to build a cabin in the woods, and now, a traveling man, spending summers in the Tetons and winters in the warmth of the southwest sunshine or the warmth of his kids' homes...he's been around the block a time or two and he has met a lot of really lovely people along the way!
We gathered up addresses and sent out a request, to as many people as we could locate...a request to share a memory. And then we waited... Every so often a note or two would come in the mailbox...or in my inbox... From December on, we watched this gift create itself note by note, until finally, the week of his birthday, we had 75 envelopes, with 75 memories!
The memories ranged from funny to sweet but we seemed to have tears in our eyes most of the night as he read them aloud. Tears of laughter and tears of joy! We were up until midnight and he only made it through a couple dozen letters, as each one brought more memories to mind. It was so fun to watch the smile creep across his face as he was recalling a funny moment with a friend and so sweet to watch him tear up at all the love and admiration everyone shared with him.
There were consistent themes...his joyous dancing, his great hugs and how much he loves his wife and family... I wish the whole family had been able to be here to share in the evening, but I am certain he will be carrying his box around with him and eager to share it with those who helped make his birthday gift so special.
Happy 75th Birthday Dad! As you can certainly tell from all of those letters...you are loved!