Here in America, we celebrate all kinds of holidays. With few exceptions, they were thought up and then exploited by the greeting card companies. Sometimes they started with a resolution in Congress (Mother's Day), or a religion (Christmas, Chanukkah, Easter), or just by virtue of nature (Happy Birthday!).
I'm not crazy about made up holidays. But sometimes they do point out people and relationships that we take for granted until they aren't there anymore. A reminder to appreciate all the things that Mom did while you were growing up and probably still does today. A national holiday for lovers because sometimes remembering your own specific special days is difficult for some people. And then, there's Father's Day.
The role of Father has changed so much in the last few decades. So many of the people I grew up with had fathers that weren't around much because they worked all the time. And when they had time off, they golfed or did some other activity that didn't include their families. Some of them went off and left their families altogether and started new families with new moms.
I'm a lucky kid. My brothers were lucky kids. Our father worked HARD. He had six kids to support after all. There were times when we didn't see him for long stretches as he covered stories for the radio station he worked for. Hurricanes were spent hoping he'd be okay and that the road down the coast didn't wash out and keep him away longer.
But when we could be included, we were. He spent Saturday mornings cutting commercials for his radio station and he took me along. I visited with the dj's, fetched music, fixed carts, spliced tapes and sometimes he would sit me on his knee and give me a script to read. I made my first commercial when I was three. I've been talking into microphones ever since. In a way, those Saturday mornings determined my career choices later. I actually do much of the voice work for our TV station and some for the radio station, and every once in a while, I hire out and do freelance voice work. Thanks for the training, Dad.
As we got older, we learned to chop wood, mow lawns, sweep roofs, wash cars. He did all those things with us. Every one of us has a strong work ethic. Yes, easy is fun.. but it doesn't mean as much as something you work for. It's a message we got early and had reinforced throughout our lives. Every one of us is gainfully employed. We are responsible adults. Thanks for teaching us how to swing our axes, Dad.
The teen years were fraught with hormonal ups and downs. We tried to find our places in the world, in our peer groups, sometimes we even duked it out for our places in our family life. If things were going particularly roughly, Dad would tie his shoes, offer his hand, and we would walk. Up and down the neighborhood hills, talking about nothing at first, then everything else, and finally whatever it was that was bothering us. Sometimes he offered advice. Sometimes he just listened. And sometimes after the tale of woe had escaped, he changed the subject and we talked about something completely different. Thanks for being there, Dad.
As grownups, we determine our own lives. But who we are and what we do and how we see the world is all influenced by our growing up with you and Mom as our parents. I think you did a pretty good job. I hope that Darling Man and I can do the parent thing as well as you guys did. You weren't perfect, but we're okay. It gives me hope that even though we're not perfect, that Z-boy will grow up to be a competent adult and still love us as much as I love you. Thanks, Dad.
Now, some pictures from Father's Day festivities out at the farm!
(L) Z-boy showed off his driving skills! (R) Brother Jerry crashed after lunch.
(L) Brother Andy made a surprise appearance. I love it when he
shows up! (R) Deacon (Uncle Dog), Z-boy and granddaughter K
(L) Brother Matt ponders stuff... (R) And Dad relaxes after cooking burgers!