Father’s Day is tomorrow. The Day of the dad. The dude. Da man.
Dads will be opening gifts of ties, scents, shirts, sports-themed items, bottles of adult beverages, or other things. Maybe the grill will be fired up, and burgers, hot dogs, steaks, or chicken will be charred. Going out for breakfast, lunch, or dining out might be an option. Or just a lazy day with the family gathered around will be the choice.
For many of us, Father’s Day will be a day of remembrance. Our dads are gone.
The late folk singer, Steve Goodman remembered his father with the song, “My Old Man”. All of us are not songwriters or singers, except in the shower.
We can give our dads their due by remembering them, talking about them, especially to our children, or writing about them.
My dad was one of the smartest men I knew. Maybe the educational system was better in the 1920s and1930s. He was articulate, well-read, and could hold his own in any conversation. He knew and shared his love of Chicago history.
Dad knew people from all walks of life. From successful professionals, people eking out a living, and even some members of a certain Italian organization. He saw to it I met them all from an early age. He wanted me to see possibilities and learn consequences.
There were only two things my dad had a passion for. His family and food. Dad was a foodie before the term was dreamed up. Grocery shopping on weekends was an excursion through various parts of the city. It could start before dawn around any holiday or special occasion.
Dad was a passionate cook, as was my mother. If they were risk-takers, they would have been successful restaurateurs or caterers. After a large meal, especially a holiday feast, dad would lean back and say, “I died right now I would die happy.”
I was an adult before I really appreciated my father, maybe because he talked about his life more. My fondest memories are just sitting at the table eating bread, cheese, olives, Italian cold cuts, and maybe a few glasses of wine. Just sitting, talking, and eating.
My dad worked hard. He had no vices. His family came first and foremost. I can’t make a movie or write a song about him. I can’t write his biography. It would be boring. All I can do is give him his due today. Remembrance.
The day I became a dad, I was awed. I held that tiny baby girl in my hands, her head barely the size of my palm. I did not want to let her go. I was holding pure love. Being a dad was the greatest accomplishment of my life. It was also the hardest thing I ever did. Children do not come with user manuals. You make things up as you go along. Most times, you are right. Many times, you err.
My daughter is an adult now. She is not the little girl anymore. She constantly reminds me, “I’m still your little girl. I’m just not puny anymore.”
Maybe, someday when I am long gone, she will give me her due by remembering me. That is all I want for Father’s Day. It would be the greatest gift.