Today hundreds of thousands of fathers will open Hallmark and American Greeting cards and read aloud loving sentiments shared by sons and daughters across the heart of this land.
Perhaps they’ll wipe away a stray tear knowing they are so loved, so respected, so admired by the little babies they once helped birth onto this blue and green spinning planet, a planet filled with joy and sorrow, hope and despair, delight and confusion.
Oh, Dad, this is my second Father’s Day card to you. You opened the first one already, didn’t you, the homemade card that showed you as the colorful Chief Penguin among hundreds of other black-and-white penguins? You read the loving thoughts penned by Barry and me, and maybe you laughed.
I just want to tell you again what a special dad you are to me.
Remember those times, all those years ago, when you led Tim, Scot and me on old bottle-hunting expeditions? We combed the ditches and junkyards for age-old bubbled glass, looking for inscriptions raised on the bottles that advertised products like London’s Dairy or Jack’s Elixir. You showed us how the neck on the really old bottles was produced separately, how the line which traveled up the bottle ended abruptly. We sought for those treasures buried beneath brush and rotted leaves. You taught us how to look deeply for hidden treasures. Thank you, Dad.
Remember how you put us to work delivering flyers for the store to most of the mailboxes in Yale that one time? We pedaled our bikes all over town, stuffing the colorful sale flyers for the store in every mailbox imaginable. You taught us how to explore beyond our own backyard. Thank you, Dad.
Remember how you employed us at the drugstore when we were old enough? I remember working for fifty cents an hour at age twelve, adding up the cost of toothpaste, deodorant, aspirin and a candy bar that cost ten cents (or was it five cents?) You taught us the importance of working. You taught us the value of earning our own money. Thank you, my daddy.
Remember how we traveled all around the United States in our station wagon, the backseat folded down so we three kids could sleep as the miles passed? We saw everything from Wall Drugs in South Dakota to the Grand Canyon, didn’t we? Remember that magical indoor pool in the motel in Amarillo, Texas? You and Mom made sure we saw the country beyond the Thumb of Michigan. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you.
Remember all the memories we’ve made over the years? Sweet memories. (OK, we won’t talk about any other kind of memories, will we, because the sweet were so abundant and precious.)
You are someone who has grown sweeter as you traveled through life. I remember you so busy in the drugstore as a child, working so hard to create a good life for our family. I remember you throwing the football and baseball and basketball with the boys. And, in recent years, I want to thank you so much for reading my blogs–for caring about me in this way–for caring enough to be enthusiastic about this passion of mine, about my life now. Thank you a hundredfold for being interested in us.
Remember how you taught us the 10% rule? How we must always, always, put away 10% of our earnings? How we must save with every paycheck? You’ve taught this to eight grandchildren who are mostly all grown up now with paychecks of their own, and I’ll bet some of them will always remember their Papa’s teachings, won’t they? You’ve always wanted seven generations to benefit from your hard work and discipline. Thank you for teaching us all how to save.
Because of you I’ve always felt cozy and secure in life, cocooned almost, protected. We could dare move up in the woods and live our dreams because your very presence felt like a safety net. I could jump as high as I wanted–without fear–because the foundation felt so darn strong and solid.
Remember how often we’ve laughed together? Remember those fits of giggles that would drive Mom and the boys crazy at the dinner table? You would get me started and I would laugh so hard the tears poured down my face and would retreat to the living room gulping and hysterical. Thank you for teaching me that life is funny and meant to be enjoyed. Thank you for teaching the joy of laughter, of appreciating how amusing this crazy life can be.
Barry also wants to tell you again how much fun he’s enjoyed fishing with you. Remember when you came up here to Lake Superior a few years ago and fished with him and John on the Big Lake? Remember how you fished in the Back Bay down in Florida, and caught that sheep head and how Mom grilled it for dinner with a little butter and salt and pepper?
You have been someone who has been genuinely interested in so many people you meet. You can talk to anyone, can’t you? You can start up a conversation with every Tom, Dick and Harry and learn something valuable about their life, their interests, their contribution to the world. (All it takes is your MSU hat on the beach in Florida!)
Dad, I could write a 2,000 word blog singing my delight that you–you–of all the people in the planet–are my father. But I will stop now and tell you again “I love you so much”. Thank you for being you.
P.S. Dear Reader, I have turned off comments for this blog. You know, a girl just sometimes has to write a love post to her daddy on Father’s Day.