by Lin McNulty
So, it’s Fathers Day today, eh? At least that’s what someone, or an ad, or a Facebook post informed me. This day, along with many other holidays, is off my radar nowadays; there’s no longer any reason for me to remember it.
I had always considered it, along with Mothers Day, as a Hallmark National Day of Guilt. I think I always at least sent a card for Fathers Day, but I don’t recall a gathering of the family around that holiday. I (along with my two brothers) was just always too busy to get together for something so insignificant.
So now the guilt catches up with me. Oh, how I long for such an event today.
I miss my Dad every day. He lived his life with a servant heart—not necessarily a trait I inherited. He was the school janitor, the school- and activity-bus driver (to include carting a bus full of screaming girls every year to Girl Scout Camp on Hood Canal), the Little League coach, a 30-year volunteer firefighter, and I’m sure he had a hand in fixing at least one thing in every house in Redmond (which at the time was a population of 500 people).
I thought every man was like my Dad—strong, straight, true, and able to fix absolutely anything, from broken bicycles to broken hearts. It was years later I realized that not only was every man not like my Dad, but if every man had been like my dad, they would have been doing their own home repairs.
His philosophies stuck with me, even though he probably didn’t realize he was expounding life lessons for me. “One hundred years from now, who will know the difference?” was his favorite.
His sense of humor was pervasive and dusty dry. The times I really got into trouble with him was when I would flip my (inherited) dry wit back at him, only to discover that on those instances he wasn’t kidding. Oops. I’m not really sure whether I ever got that quirk totally figured out in my favor.
I remember listening on the radio to the Seattle Rainiers play baseball and his patience in explaining to me the rules and especially that mysterious thing called “full count.” He just let me be “one of the guys,” to hang out at the fire station, to be the official scorekeeper at baseball games. I was in no way the daughter who wanted to hang out in the kitchen with my Mother and actually learn how to do something useful (like cooking).
He never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a “girl.” He never told me I could not grow up to become a doctor or firefighter (which was totally unheard of at that time), or whatever other career path I might have been considering at the time.
With some people, we never have enough time, do we? My Dad was one of those people and his death was a tragic loss to my life. But, you know what? If he were still with us, I would still probably only send him a card and/or call to tell him I love him and to wish him a Happy Fathers Day, not from a sense of guilt, though, but because I meant it. That was never in doubt, and 100 years from now….