50th Birthday

by | Apr 6, 2020

Hi. I’m 50 today. My wife and daughters wrote today’s IFOD:

Today is John’s 50th Birthday. There is clearly no party or fun with friends that can be arranged today. Tammy, Claire and Audrey decided writing the ifod would be a fun way to celebrate John. We each picked something interesting about John to share with you.

Happy Birthday John! We love you and really do find YOU interesting!

-Tam Tam, Smurf Girl and Ocho

“Hello, Father.” “Hello, Daughter.” This is a common interaction for me and my Dad in and out of the house. It has become a joke between us to refer to each other as who we are in terms of family relation; his name in my phone is saved as Father. To the outside person, saying “Hello, Father” and “Hello, Daughter” may seem cold, but to us it is equivalent to saying, “I am glad you are my Dad,” or in his case, “daughter.” (Audrey)

Cereal. We can never keep cereal in our house for more than a week because my Dad eats all of it–not every day for breakfast, but random times throughout the day. He eats a handful of cereal passing the cabinet, a bedtime snack, or a small bowl when he sees me eating it for breakfast. His favorite cereal is “Life,” which would just be another fact about him if it were not my favorite cereal, therefore ensuring that “Life” cereal is never in our house for very long. His love for cereal, all cereal, has been present since before I was born. Cereal has now become a joke among our family due to the fact he loves it so much.

John has a love for catch phrases. The phrase he uses the most is how he often describes himself. If he is about to, as he says, “jump into action,” he announces that he is using his “cat like reflexes.” This must be said while jumping forward in something that resembles a cat leaping… or maybe jumping? Is the cat actually falling and landing on its feet?

John signs ALL cards and anything that requires a personal note with the following which is a quote from the horrible 1982 move “Megaforce”:

You love them in blue
You love them in red
But most of all you love them in blue

(sympathy cards are exempt)

John is a great dog owner and really loves his dogs. He really loves long walks and to take his dog running. Brandy the Golden retriever and Tessa the Border Collie were his favorite girls. Dylan has been with us 11 years. He is a rescue dog and we do not know what breed he actually is. If anyone asks John, he tells people he is an Andorran retriever and is bred to gently catch and not kill chinchillas in Andorra. He has many made-up facts about the fictitious breed including that they are in short supply in the U.S. due to Andorra restricting their export and how they are not an AKC recognized breed, but there is a separate club of Andorran Retriever owners in the U.S.

My dad has always had a great love for cars—I can remember him showing off how fearlessly fast he can drive in not only sports cars, but station wagons, sedans, SUVs, and trucks. Prior to his current vehicle, he had owned a 2006 BMW 530xi. Soon after he acquired it, he stopped me as we walked through a parking lot after dinner. He had suddenly stopped and yelled after me, “Claire! Wait!” as I obliviously continued to the car. I was confused and worried as I walked back to him thinking something was wrong, but in actuality he wanted me to admire his new car with him from a distance.

My parents have a special relationship that I haven’t fully appreciated until adulthood. They operate as a team and share a deep love and respect for each other, which I had always assumed to be the case with every couple. My dad typically shops at Trader Joe’s on Sundays regardless of any groceries my mom has gotten throughout the week, and he often buys her flowers to keep in the kitchen. My parents also enjoy laughing together—most recently, I observed an interaction regarding laundry. My dad had removed clothes from the dryer while they were still damp but maintained that they were dry and that my mom was just “extremely sensitive to laundry dampness.” My mom poked fun at him for the comment, and as it turns out, the laundry was in fact still damp. On my mom’s 50th birthday a month earlier, we played the card game “Uno” as a family. On several occasions, my mom would lay down the same card that my dad had and would exclaim, “I love you so much I’m going to match you!”


  1. Beautiful. Happy belated birthday, John. You have always been one one of the most unique, indescribable individuals I have ever met. I mean that with all the love I know you will appreciate in that comment. I’d like to offer some encouragement such as, “keep being you!”. But you would and will anyway so I simply ask to be allowed to be me and continue to be near you as you are.

  2. happy b-day John I really learned a lot about you. I hope you have the best birthday ever I hope to see you soon – Your friend Jones 🙂

  3. Aloha and Happy Birthday John!

    Meeting great people like you and your family is why I love doing what I do.
    Thank you for the IFOD. And for 1989 of course!

    “Stay gold Ponyboy” 🤙🏼


  4. Rock On Sir John!
    Happy Birthday!

  5. I’m thankful I know you John Jennings! I listened to a podcast you did recently where you shared that you try to make everyone’s life better that you interact with. You have made my life better, and I learn something new from you every time I see you (and also often from the IFODs). Happy 50th birthday!

  6. Happy 50th John! What a wonderful IFOD! Cheers!

  7. Happy 50th Kiefer! Can’t wait to celebrate with you and your laundry-sensitive wife!!

  8. Hi John,
    Happy Bday and happy 50th and beyond! Really enjoyed the fam comments and we share the same fav cereal: Life!
    i will toast you by saying: may the happiest days of your past, be the saddest days of your future and may the most you desire, be the least you received.

    Ps Great book: Half Time. crux of it: The first 50 years of life, we strive for success! the second fifty years of life, we strive for significance! Looks like you started early. congrats

  9. Happy Birthday John. Loved this IFOD – and many of your others!

  10. Very sweet and well done Jennings ladies. John is one lucky DUDE. Happy 50th birthday.. I hope you get all the cereal you ever wished for. Cheers to 50 more blissful years. Print out this IFOD and frame it:)
    xx Rachel

  11. What a great way to celebrate for all of us. I loved getting to know you a bit better. Happy Happy Birthday John !

  12. Happy Birthday John! Have a wonderful and safe day

  13. Happy Birthday my friend. Great insight from a loving family. Cheers. Julian

  14. Happy Birthday John! I love this IFOD so much! Your family is clearly delightful. Life cereal is the best. As are made-up dog breeds. Ours was a Great Irish Wolfador.

  15. Happiest of birthdays, John! What a special post today. Hope you are well – stay healthy and safe!

  16. Oh great. Now I have to throw away two hours of my life watching Megaforce. Thanks John.

  17. A lovely tribute of insight from those that know and love him best.

    You will love this forever.

    Happy 50th !

  18. Hi John..happy birthday! Seems like yesterday you were 49! ( Sorry Dad joke) Welcome to the 50’s club…it is great! Matt

  19. Dear John,
    I LOVE being your mother. It has been a fun and interesting “ride”. For instance, at age four you responded to a request (or to be honest, a demand) that I made in the following way: “I have my own mind and I want to think in my own way.”
    As an adult, you have many of the same attributes you had as a child. In a 1978 Christmas letter, when you were 8, I described you to friends as : a thinker, napper and cereal lover!
    Love on your special day,

  20. Happy Birthday! I admired you for many reasons and now I have more…what a family. Respect, Matt

  21. I love this! Happy 50th Birthday John!

  22. Hope the 50th celebration is as great as you are – enjoy the next 50!

  23. Happy 50th, John. So sorry the Zombies are delayed for this milestone. They’re so unpredictable.

  24. Have a great 50th and enjoy your wonderful family.

  25. Have a fantastic birthday!!! Your family did a great job with today’s post.

  26. Happy birthday Kieffer! I love that no matter how little it catches on, you valiantly use the #grocerytower when you shop.

  27. Happy Birthday, John. This IFOD is a great birthday gift. Congratulations for having such a great, loving family.

  28. Happy Birthday John! The second half of life is going to be full with just as much love and laughter as your first half! Exploit your curiosity and explore for new ideas! Have a terrific day and year (all things not withstanding – it looks like you have all that really matters).

  29. What a great tribute from your family. Happy 50th Birthday John!!

  30. Happy 50th John!!!

  31. So sweet! Happy birthday!

  32. HBD John!!! Family comments are always the best!

  33. Happy birthday John, well done Jennings ladies.

  34. Happy birthday, John. This is favorite blog.

    Fifty is the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two squares: 5 = 1^2 + 7^2 = 5^2 + 5^2. While this year will be great, next year will be even better as 51 is binary palindrome (110011).

  35. Wonderful IFOD Jennings family. You nailed it.

  36. This is just the sweetest! Puts a big smile on my face. Happy Birthday, John!! They really did break the mold after you :).

  37. Cheers! (You can toast to life, but you really should never toast your Life(r). It’d make a mess in the toaster.)

  38. Best IFOD yet! Perfect antidote for our quarantined minds and spirits! John, you are fortunate indeed! Happy Birthday, partner! Love2Nap

  39. So sweet! Love these messages from the women in your life. Happy 50th John!

  40. Wow that is so nice! Happy birthday John.

  41. Happy birthday John. You are a lucky man indeed.

  42. Great idea, John. I too love cereal and call my kids son and daughter. Have a great 50th!

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