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June 15, 2014 Click here to mail this page to a friend.
Ignoring Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to yourself.
Fathers Day

For many, Father's Day is an afterthought, a holiday just a few steps above the one that celebrates the groundhog and that other one that promotes trees. When our nine children were growing up and still at home, I used to joke that someday Fathers Day would be like Christmas, what with all those gifts I'd be getting. As time went on, and children became adults and left the nest, some reality set in, not so many gifts, fewer cards, and sometimes even missed phone calls, as busy schedules and lives of their own took shape.

When the kids were little, the cards were almost always homemade, done in crayon, and these are things that are never thrown away. Once in a while, I'll find one in a drawer and enjoy it all over again. When my youngest daughter was in grade school, the Fathers Day assignment from the teacher was to write a short essay about your dad, and I still have it. "My dad isn't the greatest dad in the world, but he's mine and I still love him". Then it goes on to tell how hard I work to support the family, and how happy we all are. The last sentence still makes me smile. "My dad lives to watch 60 Minutes", which is true, I hardly ever miss it.

On Fathers Day in 2008,  Barack Obama attended services at a church on Chicago's South Side, where he gave a speech highly critical of absent black fathers. As I aged right along with them, the idea of having these new adults with lives and obligations of their own going out and spend money on things I really didn't need became less appealing. I would tell the kids on a regular basis not to buy me anything for my birthday, Christmas, or Fathers Day, I really didn't need anything, and, fortunately, they believed me. Once in a while, one or more of them violate this agreement, it is nice to be remembered, but I try to keep it a secret from the others, not wanting to start something.

I do look forward to the cards and phone calls, and technology has changed that a little, I've had more than one Fathers Day email, and last year one of the boys left me a voice mail hoping I was having a great day. I guess that counts, and I told my wife to put him back in the will.

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