Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

The weather forecast gives us an off and on “iffy” forecast for this weekend. Like all weekends that weather will determine what the Gator Clan does this weekend. Rain and wet usually keep Gator Daughter and her dog home. That’ll be the case Saturday even though we probably won’t get much rain, mostly showers if anything. I suspect the grounds will be too wet for Gator Wife and GD to do much outside if she does come. Then a lot can change between early Saturday morning and ten when she would normally arrive here.

Sunday is Father’s Day. My day, along with it belonging to Dads everywhere. I’d be some surprised if Gator Daughter didn’t appear here sometime on Sunday, even if we do get rains. She has already given me my Father’s Day present, but part of her own tradition for her mom and dad is to bake a cake. She’ll probably be here for lunch and then ‘surprise’ me.

One never knows what our son is doing. He’s a dad himself so I suspect he’ll be having his busy day out on the West Coast where he lives.

Can a Father’s Day go by without today’s dads thinking of their own? I doubt it. My father has been gone for more than 30 years as has Gator Wife’s dad. But they are still forever with us.

Dads teach us lessons. I think one of the best ones he taught me was one probably many have taught their children. It’s a great lesson for both boys and girls. His simple statement was, “As you make decisions in your life, ask yourself one question: How would I feel if Mom or Dad walked in on me? Would I be happy or embarrassed?” I hope I’ve successfully passed that one along to my children.

Children. One is in her 40s and the other will be 40 next year. I guess offspring are always ‘children’ to their parents.

When I was just a small boy in 1945, I was at a baseball game being umpired by my dad. I don’t remember what time it was, but Dad went to his car for a quick sip of water between innings. Someone in the car beside him had his radio on. Dad listened for a moment or two, then went out to the pitcher’s mound and faced the spectators.

He threw his arms up into the air and announced, “Attention, everybody. This game is now over.” There was a slight pause as people looked at each other in complete wonder of what was going on. “And so is the war!” exclaimed Dad.

Pandemonium of happiness broke out and we drove into downtown Portland with, I think, every other living human in Southern Maine. We joined the cavalcade at the then Union Station (corner of Congress Street and St. John Street for you youngsters out there) and it took more than four hours to drive Congress Street to Monument Square.

It was in 1976 when our mom called us from Florida to tell us Dad was in his final moments. Both my brother and I had moved to Maine from Florida back in the ‘60s to form our own lives. We took the first available plane South and only prayed we’d get a chance to say “Good-bye” to our dad. Miraculously, he held on for several days. We both had families and jobs and Christmas to get home to and had to leave Florida.

We called when we got home. It was my brother’s birthday. An hour later, we got the call from Mom. She had told dad we were home and he said, “Thank God my boys made it home safely. Now I can leave in peace.” Mom said they were the last words he said.

Naturally, there are many more warm memories of Dad, too many to include here. We never forget our dads and my hope is that wherever mine is, I haven’t disappointed him in the way I’ve led my life. I am not embarrassed. Thank you, Dad.

I hope all you dads out there have great memories of yours and that you have just a great Father’s Day Sunday.


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