Today is my father’s 81st birthday. He (and indirectly, me) walks the earth due to the late life exploits of one Colonel David Dudley Dowd, born in Saybrook, Connecticut in 1806. He moved west to Seville, Ohio in 1831 and remained there for the rest of his many days. He acquired the honorific "Colonel" during the Civil War by raising local troops. After his wife Mary died in 1875, the Colonel remarried. As it turned out, the old bird retained his youthful vigor, or enough of it anyway to produce what otherwise would have been denied him: a male heir, or David Dudley Dowd No. 2. “Dud,” as he was called, became father to my grandfather, David Sr., who with his wife Martha produced three sons, David, Jr., Jack, and Jim.
There are now three David Dudley Dowds: my dad, my brother (David III) and nephew (David IV).
My Dad, like the colonel before him, has ceded little to age. He remains an active member of the federal judiciary, and though he’s lost some distance and added some strokes to his golf handicap (he was once a scratch player) he’s a threat to place whenever he enters an event.
Given the subject of this blog, I offer a few visuals in honor of the occasion, each a nod to one of Dad’s passions: a film still from Touchdown Mickey (1932), one of my all-time favorite cartoons, Disney or otherwise, featuring Mickey’s Manglers versus the Alley Cats, with an incomprehensible Goofy providing the play-by-play; Leslie Saalburg, On the Green–Hole High,Esquire, March 1935; an SI cover from 1965 highlighting better days for the Cleveland Browns; and an editorial cartoon from 1912, by Clifford Kennedy Berryman, How They’re Acting and How They Feel, from the three-way presidential election of 1912 between Wilson, the Democrat, incumbent Taft, the Republican, and Teddy Roosevelt, Republican renegade Bull-Mooser; and the Touchdown Mickey theatrical poster.
Happy Birthday, Dad! Have a wonderful day.