It’s that weekend again. Father’s Day is Sunday.
It’s the nobody-gets-a-day-0ff-and-nothing-is-closed holiday that came about AFTER Mother’s Day was established. Mom was honored first and then someone finally asked, “Uh, what about the guy?”
As a dad, I always enjoyed playing the Father’s Day card and getting to do what I wanted to do. Looking back over the 29 years of being in the club, I would milk it for a day of fishing with the kids, a Mariners game or two, or just hanging at home with the little ones. The trick is, the little ones ain’t so little any more and as adults, it’s just plain hard to get all of us together.
My dad knows that. Once again, youngest sister Debbie–our ambassador to the hometown of Torrance, California–will be on hand to represent all three kids. Dad celebrates his 88th birthday later this year and I’m fortunate that he’s still around. I have several friends at work who both have already lost their fathers and don’t have kids. For them, this is a weekend that wasn’t even on their radar: “Is Father’s Day THIS weekend?”
While being a dad, this Sunday will always be about John Hunter to me. The guy who was born in Scotland, came over to America when he was three and landed in West Virginia. He grew up there, enlisted in the Navy for WWII, got out and moved to California and has been there ever since. While lately his world consists of Dodger games and Sudoku puzzles, I have a brain full of memories from days gone by.
There was the time, as a very young kid, it just seemed like it would be funny to pick up the running hose and turn it on him. That was the last time I remember being spanked.
I remember him running into the lake fully dressed with his clothes on when Terri couldn’t hit the brakes running down a hill. I can also easily recall him standing there with that 8mm camera and the light bar, as the three kids fought the brightness to squint his direction. My sister Debbie still insists that’s the reason all three kids eventually needed glasses.
He was the manager of my Little League team and dad often tells the story of how he was trying to control my teammates in the dugout when I hit the only home run of my Little League career. It was a grand slam over the center field fence and Dad could only look up and ask, “So, what happened?”
For a while there, after he and my mom both decided to quit smoking, it was rare to find him without a toothpick in his mouth. I mean, ALL the time. He was a board member of the private elementary school I went to, which meant that he shook the hands of all the graduates. I remember one year, a kid telling me that he was afraid to shake my dad’s hand out of fear of getting splinters.
For the record–dad smoked Kool cigarettes. Yeah, he was a menthol guy.
So, I remembered to put the card in the mail. Debbie tipped me off that he really likes his Subway sandwiches these days, so I got him a gift card. Dad doesn’t drive any more, so it ‘s a good excuse for the two of them to go to lunch and he can treat. I’ll call Sunday, get a Dodger update and the current temperature of the patio and all will be right with the world.
Another Father’s Day is rolling around and all I can say is, “Dad, enjoy it.” There are those who might use me as an argument, but I think you did a great job.
John Hunter’s son