I’m a day late and several dollars short, to play on the old saying. Yesterday was Father’s Day and I didn’t post this, I guess because I never got around to it. My son came over in the morning before he had to go to some Father’s Day celebrations from the other side of his family, and my daughter came to fix me a special dinner and spend some time.
I was otherwise occupied, and that was all good. But Father’s Day, to me, will always be about my father. It’s not a holiday that I feel strongly about for me, but I do feel that my Dad needs to be remembered on this day. That’s the way it was when I was growing up and he was still around.
My Dad is the reason for my sense of humor, such as it is, for good or for bad. He loved, and never missed, a good pun, double entendre, or any other twisted word play. I wish I could have half of his repartee and a quarter of his delivery in this regard. But alas, I will never match his ability in this corner of the humor market, and I’m o.k. with that.
He gave me intellectual curiosity, and intellectual honesty and integrity, for he was always wanting to know more. He would have love the computer age and the internet and the luxury it provides toward achieving those ends. It’s one of the great sadnesses of my life to know that he never got to experience this. He was always on the cutting edge of new technology, especially those technologies that could supply information. That’s why we were one of the first families in our little town in the early ’50s to have a television.
One of the great things about my Dad was that he could laugh at himself. He enjoyed being the butt of the joke, and I think that taught me self-deprecation, which is a strong tool for one to use to gain advantage over others who are more serious about themselves than they have need, or have a right to be. Dad’s thinking always was, that to laugh at others was demeaning, coarse, and hurtful, but to laugh at yourself was disarming, humanizing, and empowering.
For all of the serious issues in his life; service in WWII, personal loss and tragedy, etc., he always managed a smile and an easy and honest laugh at those things that assuaged his sadness. He loved humor, and I know now that his laughter was often a way to deal with serious issues in a way that didn’t bring others down when he himself was down about things. Humor was a balm; a surcease to pain, memory, and loss that kept him in a place he’d rather be, and others around him in a place where they would never see his pain.
As I look at the sunset years of my own life, and having outlived my Dad, chronologically, I come to appreciate him and his way of dealing with things in a better light. I respect him and his way of dealing more every day. As I face my own issues of regrets, hopes, and losses, I look to my Dad’s example even more. It is only now, thirty years after his death, that I really understand and fully appreciate him and what he gave me. It is only now that I can truly celebrate Father’s Day, not this one time of the year, but every day that I think of him and what he gave to me, probably without knowing it or thinking about it.
Thanks Dad. This may be a day late, but it’s more heartfelt and essential for having had the extra time to think about what you mean to me, and I hope, to future generations of our family. I love you, man.