No human father has ever been perfect, so I expect just about everybody has a bad memory or too, of their dad, but for some people, being reminded of their father on Father’s Day is like having a sharp thorn thrust through their heart. Some fathers weren't just imperfect humans, but were monstrous and treated their children in ways we would like to imagine couldn’t possibly have happened, but did.
I heard a story yesterday from the man who preached at our church about his father. He came home drunk, opened a jar of pickled pig's feet, and ate all of the meat off the bones. Instead of throwing the bones away, he put them back in the jar, put the lid on, and put the jar back in the cupboard.
The next day he lined his children up and demanded to know who had eaten the pickled pig's feet. None of them had, of course, thus, none of them would admit to having eaten the pig's feet. So, he beat all of them because he knew at least one of them had to be lying.
I am thankful that don't have that sort of story to tell, but I always seem to have trouble finding a good Father’s Day card for my dad, who was not perfect but who was, and still is, the best possible dad a child could have wanted.
I found a very nearly perfect card this year.
And then I remember quite well one summer
afternoon, the local parks and recreation department had a kit-flying
contest at one of the nearby parks. My dad and I used the sticks from an old kite to frame and covered it with white tissue paper used to wrap
presents. I decorated it with a sponge dipped in paint. We attached a
tail and some fishing like and off we went to the park.
stood in line next to the other children while our parents stood with
their child's kite. At the signal, each parent threw their child’s kite up into the air, and
mine took off so fast it beat all of the other kites for that category.
My dad never quite “got over” the fact our simple homemade kite had gone
up against some very fancy kites and won. I got a certificate “suitable
for framing,” which I think I still have stashed way somewhere.
And I am thinking of friends – including my dear cousin, whose father just died a few weeks ago– who are no longer buying Father’s Day cards, and am thankful that most of them can remember their fathers with joy in their hearts, and if not that, at least forgiveness.