Your father had a talent for making people around him ~react~.
As a child he could tell a joke with the just the right amount of lip and attitude that listeners would be more entertained than shocked when they heard him deliver the occasionally crude punchline. His busy and often interruptive assertions were always made boldly and without apology, and his smile and laughter worked *~magic~* every single time they presented themselves, causing even the grumpiest person to smirk and guffaw with a twinkle in his or her eyes.
As a teen, he was still naturally inclined to not only ask little girls to dance with him at weddings (girls LOVE to twirl and dance), but to let them stand on top of his feet so they could move more gracefully and "dance like grown ups:"
He knew how to dress up:
... but don't let the tennis shoes fool you- he'd actually worn the shoes from his ROTC uniform for the ceremony earlier:
Can you see why he switched into more comfortable footwear after the serious stuff was over? He was certainly not going to be accused of dancing like he had two RIGHT feet! While hurrying out of the house to come and DJ our wedding (ceremony and reception), he accidentally grabbed two right shoes. Thankfully, your Grandma Karen saved the day and even took pictures so we'd have lovely memories whenever Dear Husband and I wanted to look back and remember our special day. In 2003, when these photos were taken, your Daddy was still too young and unable to clearly imagine his future good fortune: meeting your beautiful and sweet Mommy and bringing you both into the family of some of my best friends.
Nine or ten years old when I first met him, your Daddy was eager, exuberant and yes, occasionally exasperating. He lived with loyalty, love and laughter, and I enjoyed watching him grow into a fine young man, husband and father. He served this nation as a soldier with strength and honor. You'll never have to ask your grandparents or your extended family for stories about your Daddy, because there are *so many* and we all want you to know about the man whose life we were so fortunate to have shared... you're going to have awesome listening ears!
Enjoy the stories. We'll be celebrating his life as we tell them to you.
Orion's father will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in April.