My dad at Fenway, 1999

As long as I can remember, my Dad used to wish for two things: to live to be 70 (his own dad, my gramps, passed at 69) and to see the Red Sox win the World Series.

Sadly, he never got the first wish. The big C showed up when he was in his early 50s and although he fought it valiantly — and still made it to the Sox games with me whenever possible — he passed shortly before his 66th birthday.

But he got to see the Sox win it all. And that’s something I’m grateful for every day.

He was a gentleman, an inspiration and a Red Sox fan to the end. And he was my hero. A guy whose example I’ve tried — and, sadly, often failed — to live up to every day.

Today, he would have been 70 years old. The birthday he always wanted. But somehow I think that if given a choice, he’d have rather seen the Sox win it all. And that helps make today a little brighter.

Happy birthday, Dad.