James William McNeal
Pop and I shared a birthday. In the years since his death, my birthdays have never been quite the same. Someone is always missing.
In my early years I didn't like having to share my special day with my dad. I wanted it all for myself. But as the years went by, I began to enjoy sharing that cake and birthday greetings with pop.
Even now I have my personal tribute to my dad on our birthday. I write a note for him, light a candle, and play his favorite bagpipe tune. It's my way of celebrating his spirit and all the things he ever taught me like the reverence of nature and conservation of Mother Earth.
He wasn't a saint. Just like every other parent, he made his fair share of mistakes and missteps. But he was my touchstone. If I had a problem I couldn't solve, Pop was my go-to guru. He was all common sense and rational thought. And he made me laugh.
So, today on my birthday, I just want to take a moment to pay tribute my dad. He always had my back. I love you, Pop.