40 years ago today my mom married my step-father. I have often wondered how we would have turned out without him. Ronnie (or Big Red) as I used to call him took such great care of us. He treated us like his own kids, which wasn’t always great. He was strict, but fair. My brother, sister and I learned the value of hard work and respect, partially due to the fact that Ronnie was in our lives. I grew to love football because of Ronnie. I can remember staying home with him and watching football. I would get him his diet pepsi and he taught me how to play double solitaire. I will never forget he would say “BURN” loudly when I made the wrong play. I would jump a mile high! To be very honest with you, I never realized what a great step-father he was until just two years ago. It was when I spent two months alone writing about some painful times in my childhood. It was then that I had an “aha” moment. The story that I always believed was poor me, my parents didn’t stay married and I had a mean step-dad. The truth was, he loved my mom so much that he married her when my brother was only 4, I was 6 and my sister just turned 9. That was a lot to take on, I would run the other way if I starting dating someone and I found out they had small children. So today marks my parents 40th anniversary and my step-dad’s birthday! So happy birthday Ronnie, thank you for loving us and especially for putting up with mom, I know that is not easy!!