Dad’s Days are filled with memories of a special bond

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Though typically treated with less honorific reverence than the occasion honoring mothers last month, Father's Day remains an important event, resonating in memory for all involved.

 

The gift portion of the day barely evokes much recollection. I recall giving my Dad a tie or two, a belt now and again, and electric hedge trimmers, These last especially remembered as they are still shaping greenery at my former home.

 

Though typically treated with less honorific reverence than the occasion honoring mothers last month, Father's Day remains an important event, resonating in memory for all involved.

 

The gift portion of the day barely evokes much recollection. I recall giving my Dad a tie or two, a belt now and again, and electric hedge trimmers, These last especially remembered as they are still shaping greenery at my former home.

 

No particular gift from my sons stands out, but I do have some scribbled, handmade cards in my file of treasured mementos.

 

What comes to mind more strongly with my own kids are Father's Day trips to one favorite restaurant or another.

 

Perhaps the nicest demonstration of their affection for me has been a willingness to sit quietly at some pizza place while I ask absurd questions of the wait staff.

 

This year marks the second officially special Sunday in which my boys and I do not live in the same house. Truth be told, they have been very good about doting on their old man when we can get together; that is even more true on the third Sunday in June. Chances are, we'll spend a couple relaxing hours together and dine on pizza again.

 

As expected, this week’s paternal commemoration brings thoughts about my father. I've reached that time of life when I understand him more than in the past, and I’m more aware of example I set for my offspring; naturally this sets me musing on the model my dad was for me.

 

Hindsight allows me the keen focus to see that Dad, while freely acknowledging his imperfections, nevertheless gave his best effort. There were little things that drove him nuts, but he generally did not sweat the small stuff. Looking back, I marvel at his patience during my teenager and young adult years, and the courage he showed in allowing me to make my own mistakes and find my own way.

 

That was part of his generous nature; Dad was bighearted to those he knew and those he did not. Though it surely pained him to watch from a distance as I repeatedly stumbled and fell, he realized the best gift he could give was letting me stand up again on my own.

 

More and more, my hands remind me of him. Yes, the wrinkles and age spots are similar, but as these hands come to more resemble his in those final years, I also think on the gentleness and strength with which he used them. He did not hesitate to take on a difficult task, nor the opportunity to reach out to others. He did not raise them in anger, but extended them in kindness.

 

I suppose that is his Father's Day gift to me, the example of what good can be done when you look for the humanity in people, and of the sweet nature a man can show if he is strong enough.

 

Here's hoping we all can leave such a gift to our own children.

 

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached