Fathers’ Day 2014
Each year as Father’s Day comes I try to approach the day with a bit of wit and humor. Unfortunately that is escaping me this year.
I don’t know why when I have lived my life believing that a being a responsible adult that can laugh at himself is one of the best ways to survive the trials that come with every day.
Raising a child is difficult at times in today’s society and it becomes even more difficult when one does it as a single person. I was blessed by the Good Lord to be one of those single parents and I am proud of my son. Kevan, even with as goofy as your old man is, you turned out exactly as I wanted you to be, a responsible adult.
May be it was the bond that started between my son and myself but a few moments after his birth when he wrapped his hands around my finger in a perfect Vardon grip. I knew a golfer was born and that would carry the bond that my own father had with me. You confirmed that to me the day I saw you with a plastic golf club in your sand box swinging away as a child will do except without being told you were bringing that club up naturally as in a manner that only seasoned pros use.
I recalled as I sit here writing that first round we played together on a real golf course. I told you at the first tee I would hit your drives on the long holes but you would play it from where it landed. I hit you a good one, better than my own and you proceed to par the hole. That was a wake up that I need to step up my game as the challenge of the future was set. I may have outscored you that day but you out played me.
Maybe it was it came from the day when I slid down the steps, bouncing on every one of them, while holding you as we prepared to go out the door for work. Heck I never dropped you or spilled a drop of my coffee that I had in the other hand that morning. Amy be it was you “Let’s do it again Dad!” comment as I sat there checking to make sure we were both uninjured. My back hurt like mad but I could not help but laugh.
May be I can still laugh at myself as a father.
In speaking with someone the other day I recalled a day we spent together. We had a lot played and it just fell as a “perfect” storm kind of day and one that happens. It was a Saturday that started with heavy rain that eliminated something that I wanted up to do outside. As you clowned around on the couch you lost your first tooth. Then plan “B” went in to action with a movie that I recall was Jurassic Park (there are those dinosaurs again).
The day ended with your first rock concert and not a bad line up to get for your first, Aretha Franklin and then Ringo Starr. We may have had to endure the rain but it was a great show. Yes you complained about the rain but what you said on the way to the car was what made that day special. It was simple but it stuck, “That was fun.”
Was life perfect for us? That is what time will judge as we faced many challenges together but we also do what a father and son are supposed to do. We got kicked around a bit but we survived to both be better people for it.
You know what I have done since then and you know why. It is so you don’t have to do it should you face a too common difficulty of life.
BTW - You still owe me a beer. Still have to figure out if that happens as beer for breakfast for me or in some other manner.
May be my problem this year is that I have started thinking about how I was as a child and the relationship with my own father. As his birthday passed a few days ago on June 11 I thought back to those times. The relationship was not perfect in my youthful mind because I was being molded into a strong adult by a strong adult and male figure. My rebellious attitude of my teenage year had me believing that I knew everything. Man was I proven wrong as I got older but I was prepared for the trials that came with life and had to face the challenges of life on my own.
Yes you were there for me as I grew. Dad, you were the father in the neighborhood that was outside with all the kids playing at times. You were on the sidelines when I played flag football and while you weren’t the coach you were still coaching.
I remember us playing golf together and one day laughing at Les Cheney and his brother as we followed them down a hole at Firestone. The sight of those two broad shouldered guys that had to lean out because they didn’t fit in the cart is an image I will never forget.
And you made me work and earn my keep. Sweeping floors is a task that should never fall beneath any man as it is something that brings humility. Good Lord knows I swept my share at the hardware.
You taught me a life lesson that has stuck the day in the store when the redhead neck told you to wait on him instead of the older gentleman of color. You endured his insults as he used the “N” word until you had witnessed enough disrespect for your fellow man. You reply was swift and sharp as a real man should be. “I am waiting on him as he was here first. His money is the same color of yours and if you don’t like it, there are three doors in this store, I suggest you use one.” He opened his mouth one time and your response was as it should have been “Tim, show that gentleman to the door, I believe he came in the back door, so have him use the front.”
You apologized for that act of disrespect by someone towards a fellow human and went right back to doing what you were doing, teaching a stranger to fix a sink. That is why family hardware stores are still my favorite place in this changing world.
It has been almost 40 years since you left us and not a day goes by the I don’t think about the lessons I learned and apply them every day. While many of my friends got to enjoy a beer with their fathers, I didn’t, but that day will come on the other side.
May this year it is the return of the U. S. Open to Pinehurst where Payne Stewart won his last Championship. The Open has always been a special event for golfing fathers as it finishes on Fathers’ Day. His last day battle with Phil Michelson was one that golf history cannot forget. Payne, the father, versa Phil, the very soon to be father. It is not that Payne won but what he is rumored to have said to Phil after that victory. “There will be other championships but you will only become a father once.” For Phil he did a couple days later.
We lost Payne later that year but the respect shown by his fellow competitors towards him as a golfer and a father stills carries on. Those words show why.
Maybe this year it is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and thoughts of those lost that day as well as the numbers of the greatest generation that are now leaving us. We are blessed with great men and fathers that survived that day and the war. There is something about a 93 year old that leaves his home in Ohio, goes to France , solo jumps from a C-47 just as he had done 70 years before, and gets up like it was nothing and brushes it all off as if it is no big deal.
Or the 89 year old that went AWOL from his nursing home and then when they found him in France with his medals on, told them, “I will be back when I am done”.
Maybe it was the news that Chester Nez, the last surviving member of the original band of Navajo Native American passed away earlier this month. The code created by him and his Navajo brothers was never cracked during the war. That is my definition of a hero.
For me this year is about reflections of being a father rather than celebrating fatherhood. A good man will make a good father. He may not be perfect but there has only been on perfect man that walked this Earth and he died for you.
Maybe my experiences are why I have worked as I have for so long for other fathers. It is the lessons learned from the actions of other fathers that have walked before me that have taught me what it is to be a father and I realize the need for the policy changes so that society can also enjoy those lessons.
Happy Fathers Day
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