You are looking at a limited edition photo of a young Strength with Papa Strength, circa 1983. If he had lived, today would've been my dad's 50th birthday. I imagine he'd have a big party to celebrate the day and he'd get his turquoise corvette all washed and shined for the occasion. He'd call everyone -- family, friends, girlfriends -- and remind us all when and where we needed to be. And we'd get there, no matter what.
He'd arrange it so he made some kind of grand entrance where the dj played a special song just to celebrate his arrival. Dad would detest most of the stuff on the radio today, so the playlist would include his old favorites -- Phyllis Hyman, Three Times Dope, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Salt 'N Pepa, etc. It would definitely be an old school jam. The one exception would e Beyonce', I'm sure he'd like her.
We'd stroll out onto the dance floor in full view of his insecure ex girlfriend, Susan. Dad always had a way with the ladies and the poor thing always got all a'flutter when she saw Dad around them. She once called over his place and got mad when I answered the phone, thinking I was someone he was cheating with. (Pobrecita -- I hope she got the help she needed.) His other exes would be there as well, including Debbie, who, along with her daughter, remind me of the main characters from 'The Parkers' ; and Joyce, who drove me crazy with all her pets but was with me at the hospital when he died in 1999.
The party would be packed with folks who knew Dad in one way or the other. Some smart aleck would find a way to put 50 candles on a birthday cake and he'd try his hardest to blow them all out. Mom probably wouldn't attend, but he'd ask me about her, like always. He'd tell me that I'm looking more and more like her everyday and then he'd clown me once he noticed that I'm getting the same gray hairs that I once teased him about. Then he'd ask me how long I'm planning to let my locks grow before I come to my senses and cut them off. He'd roll his eyes when I tell him that I'm letting them grow as long as possible, then I'd give him a big hug. Somebody would snap a picture and soon, the party would be over.
Anyway, that's how I wished things could've happened. Rest in peace, old man.