“REMEMBERING GOOD FATHERS”
“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.” – Proverbs
June 17 is Father’s Day. A day of cologne, hugs, long-distance calls, & Hallmark Cards.
This Father’s Day will be my 31st without Pop. For 30 years I had one – one of the best. Dad’s
buried next to Mom in a cemetery in Akron. It seems strange for Pop not to be near. He was never
gone from me growing up. He was always close by, available, present. His words were nothing novel.
His achievements, though admirable, were nothing extraordinary, BUT his presence was.
Dad was always a source of comfort to me. Like the big tree in our backyard, Dad was always there
to lean on. During those turbulent teen years, Dad was the one part of my growing up years that was
predictable. When one sports season turned into another, Dad was there.
Vacations, homecoming dates, tests, my 1st car, wedding, the birth of our three daughters – they
all had one thing in common – Dad’s presence.
Because of his presence life went smoother. The bills got paid, the car always ran, & the yard
stayed mowed. The laughter was fresh & the future seemed more secure. Because Dad was there, my
growing up was what God intended growing up to be – a storybook scamper thru the magic & mystery of
the world. I never worried as a kid about income taxes, savings accts., or the house payment. Those
things were on Dad’s plate. I remember looking thru family pictures without him in them – because
he was always taking them.
Dad made the decisions, broke up the fights with my brother, chuckled at Jackie Gleason, read the
paper every night, & fixed supper 7 days a week. He didn’t do anything unusual. He did what dads
are supposed to do – be there. He taught me how to shave & how to pray. He taught me wrong should
be punished & right should be its own reward. Dad comes to mind often. When I smell Old Spice, I
think of him. When I hear the kind of joke Red Skelton would tell, I see him smile. Dad never
talked to me about sex or told me his life’s story. Yet I knew that if I ever wanted to know, he’d
tell me. I knew if I ever needed him, Dad would be there.
Maybe that’s why Father’s day has a bit of a chill for me most years now. The winds of age
swallowed the last splendid flame, leaving only golden embers. But it’s a strange thing about
embers – stir ‘em a bit & a flame will dance. It’ll dance only briefly, but it will dance. It will
knock just enough chill out of the air to remind me that he is still… in a special way, very near.