Category Archives: Father’s Day

Father's Day 2009

As usual, I’m missing my father, glad to be Lydia’s father, and wishing that my father and my daughter had met.

I’ve been musing about this for a while: do guys say, “I love being a dad” the way some women say, “I love being a mom”? I mean I love being LYDIA’S dad, but it’s not the same thing.

You know what cereal commercial I hated? The one for Kix that went: “Kids like Kix for what Kix has got. Moms like Kix for what Kix has not.” It seemed to suggest that dads didn’t care what was in their children’s breakfast food. Not true, and the implication made me a bit peevish.

I really liked traveling with Lydia, just the two of us. Save for a couple 1.5-hour bus trips from Albany to Oneonta and back, we don’t travel alone together beyond the routes of the CDTA regional bus system. She traveled well. She was momentarily peeved when I had to put her tray table in its upright and locked position until she realized that EVERYBODY had to do that.

Lydia made me a drawing for Father’s Day. Drawing seems to be the gift for every occasion of late: birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries.

From AwesomeStories:

In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when she wondered why people didn’t celebrate Father’s Day. After her mom’s death, Sonora’s dad – William Jackson Smart, a Civil-War veteran – had raised all of his children alone.

To show her gratitude, Sonora worked to have Father’s Day celebrated during June – the month of William’s birth. She was successful, and the event took place on the 19th of June, 1910. Fourteen years later, Father’s Day had become so important in America that President Coolidge recommended it should be a national holiday.

It was President Lyndon Johnson, though, who designated the date as the third Sunday of June and President Nixon who formally instituted Father’s Day as a time of national observance.

And … in case you didn’t know … the rose is the official Father’s Day flower. Red is for fathers who are living; white is for fathers who have died.


Another Father's Day

My maternal grandfather, Clarence Williams, played in the Negro Leagues in 1930s. I’ve never been able to track down any statistics or even exactly what team he played for, though my grandmother thought he played for some team called the Giants. There were several “Giants” teams in the day.

The person I knew as my paternal grandfather, McKinley Green, I’ve mentioned before in these pages. He was a janitor, auto racing connoisseur, and loved the horses. I’ve never found the person who was my real paternal grandfather. I’ve long had a very complicated relationship with my father, who died in 2000, and I’m still looking for information about him.

When I became a father in 2004, I had a great deal of optimism about the world. I still love being a father, but the world? I’m not so sure about it. I guess I wanted the world to be freer now than when she was conceived, and I’m not at all feeling that’s the case. I want it to be safer, and given tornadoes in unusual places, more violent hurricanes and the like, not so certain about that one.

There are are some men who just always wanted to be a dad, but I wasn’t one of them. I like being Lydia’s dad – I LOVE being Lydia’s dad – but we’re getting a lot of those “Are you going to have another?” questions. That’s nobody’s business, of course, but I suspect if we were to have another child, he or she would be adopted. In fact, in the period we were “trying to get pregnant”, we got a lot of literature on the topic. We’re not actively pursuing the issue now, but if we do, you’ll be the 100th to know.

I got a handmade card and a two peas in a pod thingy for Father’s Day. I do enjoy this part.

I’m watching the Tonys tonight, my annual opportunity to say, “So THAT’S what (name of actor better known for TV or movies) has been doing lately. I thought maybe he was retired. Or dead.” I expect this person will watch; since Whoopi Goldberg is hosting, I’d bet money that this guy won’t be tuning in.
Evanier has on his page this Fiddler on the Roof/Avenue Q mashup. I LOVE Fiddler and plan to see Avenue Q this fall.


Father's Day

Ah, yes, my annual Father’s Day ambivalence. On one hand, my wife understandably wants to spend time with her father, who is, not so incidentally, a pretty swell father-in-law. On the other hand, he’s been busy with his antique car show on Father’s Day anyway. On the third hand, my father’s deceased, and I think (know) I’m a little peeved with him because his treatment plan for his prostate cancer, if any, was practically a secret even to his family. On the fourth hand, I’m now a father. (I figure, if I keep going, I’ll hit Eight Arms To Hold You.)

Here’s a pretty big constant: I wish my father had had a chance to meet my daughter, and vice versa. Lydia and I spend time going over the family relationships; she’s gotten it down pretty well. Grandma Green is my mommy. She’s seen pictures of my father, mostly the 1999 wedding pictures. At some point, she’ll wonder why she’s never met him, and I get to tell her about heaven. (Even if one doesn’t believe in heaven, I’d think it would be the easier explanation.)

So, Carol went down to visit with Lydia to visit her father yesterday. I stayed home to go to the funeral of a church member, Nancy Vail, and so I can go to the last church service conducted by my old friend Bob Pennock today before he retires. Presumably, Carol and Lydia will be home this afternoon, and I’ll get to celebrate Father’s Day in whatever way they deem fit.

Did I mention my ambivalence?

But then, before they left, Lydia gave me her present, a paperweight. It’s a rock, painted black, with a couple eyeballs, and a black pipe cleaner tail that serves as a flag pole for a little banner that reads “#1 Dad”. It’s sweet. Really. Guess the day’ll be OK, after all.
Tyler Perry on Father’s Day and forgiveness.
“Prepare for a marital smackdown, as pastors Miriam and Glen go head-to-head over Glen’s cheapskatism. He turns off the AC when passing, and puts their minivan into neutral when heading downhill. Is this consummate chisler going to wreck his marriage?” MY pastors on the 6/16/2007 episode of Car Talk!


The twins

“In the 1960’s, there were two groups on Capitol Records – one American, the other British – whose name began with the letters ‘B-E-A-.’ Each of these groups featured a bass playing songwriter born in June of 1942, and each group made records that have withstood the test of time to become classics of popular culture.”

I started delivering the Press, the Binghamton evening and Sunday morning newspaper, back in the days when there were actually evening newspapers, in 1964 or early 1965. (The M-Sa morning paper was the Sun-Bulletin; the two papers subsequently merged into a seven-morning Press & Sun-Bulletin.)

So, I had money of my own. Naturally, because I wanted to get all of the Beatles albums (I had some singles), I joined the Capitol Record club in 1965. My first album was Beatles VI, and I worked backward and forward from there, including this weird mostly talk album called The Beatles Story. I got Something New relatively early in the process. I distinctly remember getting Meet the Beatles in STEREO, which was a problem, because I only had a MONO player! There were directives about not playing a stereo record with a mono needle, lest you wreck the album. I didn’t play Meet the Beatles for weeks, then I did, and it SEEMED OK…

I also got Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful, Herman’s Hermits’ Greatest Hits, the Hollyridge Strings performing Beatles tunes, some instrumentalist named Billy Strange, and, of course, BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND USA. One side had two songs each from BEATLES (England), BEACH BOYS (USA), and PETER & GORDON (England), the “kids” side; the Peter & Gordon cuts, not so incidentally, were by Lennon & McCartney. The other side contained 2 tunes by NAT KING COLE(USA) and CILLA BLACK (England), plus “Tears and Roses” by AL MARTINO (USA), the “adults” side. I probably still have it upstairs in the attic.

Thus, my very first album I owned that featured the Beach Boys was on an album that also featured the Beatles. “I Get Around” was a great song that I had heard on the radio. But it was the other song, “Don’t Worry Baby”, a lovely ballad with exquisite harmonies that I don’t think I had been familiar with, which really intrigued me. I’d heard many of the beach/girls/cars songs on the radio, but this was something special.

So when it became available, I bought the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. As Paul McCartney noted, “Pet Sounds was my inspiration for making Sgt. Pepper’s…the big influence. That was the big thing for me (in 1966). I just thought, ‘Oh, dear me. This is the album of all-time. What are we going to do?'” Eventually, Paul gave a copy of Pet Sounds to all of his children. At the end of 1966, a year-end poll in one of England’s music papers found The Beach Boys topping The Beatles as the #1 vocal group in the world.

And, of course, the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, one of my next record club purchases, inspired the Beach Boys’ would-be legendary SMiLE, the album with a 37-year gestation period, finally released last year by the primary songwriter.

So, here’s to Paul McCartney, whose 63rd birthday was two days ago, and Brian Wilson, whose 63rd natal day celebration is today. Twins separated only by 48 hours and 6000 miles.

And speaking of vintage music, the 25th Annual Old Songs Festival is this weekend at the Altamont Fairgrounds near Albany. There was a stretch when I used to go every year, but that pattern has been altered. We PLAN to attend this year, and I hope to meet up with a friend (SKA) I haven’t seen in about three years.

Of course, yesterday, for Father’s Day, we PLANNED to go out miniature golfing, but then Lydia fell asleep on her mother’s lap for two hours, then she was hungry, then she needed changing, etc., etc. Was it Bobby Burns who said something about plans and rodents and people?

Father's Day

The first Father’s Day without my father, in 2001, was the hardest time I had since he died in August 2000. Harder than his funeral (when I went on autopilot), Christmas, or my parents’ anniversary or even his birthday (which came only a month and a half after his death, so perhaps I hadn’t fully absorbed it.)
That first Father’s Day, the world seemed to prattle on, like verbal bullies on the playground, “We have a father, and you— don’t.”

Father’s Day 2002 and 2003 were somewhat better, though I found myself occasionally jealous of people with fathers.

Father’s Day 2004 was definitely a mixed bag. It was the first year I was a father and I got a lot of affirmation, especially from my mother, my sisters, my fellow church members, my friends.
Still, I was missing my father in a whole new way. I wondered, “What kind of advice would he have given me?” and “Would I have accepted it?” I felt that whatever he might have said to my sisters when they were raising their daughters wouldn’t necessarily apply to me. It was a “guy thing”, but I don’t know how that would manifest itself in this situation. And, of course, I wish that my father had been able to see my daughter. (A belief in an afterlife assuages this only marginally.)

As another Father’s Day approaches, I hope that Lydia will give me socks, like I gave my dad. I think that this year, I’ll be able to concentrate on the joy instead of the sorrow. Indeed, I know that I’m feeling easier now about being a father. It’s not that I know much more; it’s that I’m not so concerned about not knowing what I’m doing like I did last year. (This may be a function of the fact that I have had somewhat more sleep in June 2005 than in June 2004.)

And I hope that if someone reading this has a living father with whom he or she is estranged, reconciliation may be found. Despite our occasional turmoil, my father and I ended up in a pretty good place with each other. For that, I do feel very fortunate.