Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

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.

The elementary school I attended was within walking distance of our house, and so I walked to school. During those early years, my dad worked part time at a gasoline station and went to the trade-tech school in the evenings to study to become an auto mechanic, and I think after that was done he worked swing shift. In any event, he was home during at least part of the day, and on many mornings, he rode me to school on the handlebars of a bicycle, and when I was too big for that, I sat on the crossbar.

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.

I 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.


jen said...

I know, our list could go on and on of good memories of Dad. He is exceptional, I believe. So thankful he's still fun - and has a happy heart.

cranethie said...

It's funny the things we remember about our Dads - the things we did and the things we remember we were going to say and do never did. I often wish I'd said a lot more to my Dad
Take care