Not a very special number when you really think about it.

But it does hold some interesting significance in history.

For instance, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told Peter to forgive people “Seventy times seven times.” I know this may not be a big deal, but it may help explain why the number seven has, for centuries, been considered a “lucky number.”

70 MPH is the common maximum speed limit for most American freeways. Except, of course, those in Illinois and Wisconsin. But I digress.

I was born in 1970. For me, this is especially significant.

And today, January 7, 2008, marks the day my father was born.

70 years ago.

It’s hard to believe he would have been 70. SEVENTY. That sounds so much older than it probably really is. But it really is rather old.

It seems like only yesterday that he turned 40. I remember it quite well. We had a big party and made a huge cake, and I can’t be 100% sure (or even 70% sure), but I think it was the first time we used those number-candles on a birthday cake. The number seemed so huge to me — 40. Of course, I’m only three years away from being 40 myself. Which makes me… 37. Again, that pesky 7 shows up.

Maybe Dad was lucky he didn’t live to see his 70th birthday. He was living a miserable life toward the end, so I can’t imagine it would have gotten much better in two more years.

Of course, that doesn’t make me miss him any less. And it doesn’t help my heart, which hurts when I think I can’t call him to wish him a “Happy Birthday” or buy him another bottle of “Smelly Stuff” for his bathroom cabinet.

But I do think he’s in a much better place now. And wherever he is, he’s looking down on us and smiling. He’s smiling because he has two granddaughters on the way. He’s smiling because we’re all healthy and living our lives the best way we know how. And he’s smiling because he’s no longer in pain.

So, Dad, wherever you are– above the clouds, or over the rainbow–

Happy Birthday.

Love, your champ.