A happy day to all of you titans of tadpoles, you efficacious fountains of fertility, you powerfully potent performers, you mighty ruffians of reproduction. I hope you have a great day. I’m taking Sunday off myself.
Of course, getting one past the goalie really doesn’t make a father in my book, and my own dad set the bar pretty high. He’s been gone since July 8, 1993, and there isn’t a day that goes by without my thinking of him. I still have my share of days when I ask myself what Dad would do. My father worked his way through Fordham in the Great Depression, fought in both the Second World War and Korea, raised and college educated 4 sons, one of whom nearly died at age 4, and was a devoted husband to my mom for 43 years. He always tried to do right. He cared that we’d do the same. I don’t think my father ever had a selfish moment.
I know that fatherhood has changed me, and I have my kids to thank for that. If I weren’t a dad I’d never do half the things I do, unless I suddenly decided that I liked earning a living in a field that is full commission, fraught with rejection and stress, and as challenging as anything else I have ever done. It is just human nature to go for the low hanging fruit. And kids change that.
I was no walk in the park for my dad. I was born when my brothers were 16, 14, and 9. Dad was 46, and Mom was 41. My 9-year old brother was sick and they were afraid that I would be also. I was not.
So when my brothers were grown, educated, married and employed, there was my father, in his 60s and retired, running me back and forth to wrestling meets, boy scouts, school functions, and things his contemporaries considered a distant memory. My college education cost what my three brothers cost combined.
In 1987, when I spent the summer with my brother Paul in Texas, Dad flew down and drove back with me in my $900 Datsun 510 wagon, and I remember him talking to me for much of the trip about how it was in 1945 when he returned from the South Pacific. It was a big departure from his usual self, but we had 24 hours togther, and my mother was afraid we’d kill each other. I was 20; he was 66. We made it home just fine. He wasn’t going to let me drive that far alone. I thank him for that. It was how he was- always looking out for me and not himself.
As much as I think I challenged him, I always knew my dad loved me.
So, to all you dads out there with your own stories to tell, have a great Father’s Day yourself.