Father’s Day….What it means to me.Column from my archives:
“Ode to a Father-Gone”
A weekend upon us. For some, time off. For some, time to work. For many, a time to remember. For a few, a time to forget.
A weekend of hustle and bustle. Padres games. U.S. Open golf. NASCAR race. Yard work and picnics and phone calls.
Will you take time to think of days gone by? Your heritage? Your background? Your family? Your dad?
Father’s Day has many meanings to many men.
I wonder what it was like for him to grow up in the depression.
I wonder what it was like to lose his father at the age of 15. Become the man of the house as a mid-teen.
I wonder what it was like to be a minor league pitcher in the 1930s, him wanting to be a St. Louis Cardinal, the disappointment of never getting to the show.
I wonder what it was like to be a 24-year-old in combat in World War II, a scared Seabee, building runways, avoiding snipers, seeing planes burn and men die in places like New Caledonia and Wake Island.
I wonder how hard it was to hold a job and go to night school for six years to get a degree.
I wonder what it was like to see his four children graduate from college, the private joy he must have felt.
I wonder if he ached the year we had only one Christmas present per child because there was no money.
I wonder if he knew that the richness of love and guidance he gave us was valued more than any material gift we got.
I wonder what he thought, or even if he knew he was dying so quickly, of his belief in God, family, friends and his courage.
I wonder if he knows how my career turned out and if he sees his two grandsons and all they are accomplishing.
I wonder when I see him again, what it will be like, and how much fun it will be to ask all the questions I have. I feel I hardly knew him.
We all have memories of a father.
Some who carried briefcases, some who had lunch buckets.
Some who wore three-piece suits, others who wore coveralls.
Some wore work boots, others wore wingtips.
Some had 9-to-5 jobs, others who had two jobs, some had no jobs.
Some loved us, others left us.
Some pushed us, others punished us.
Some drank to excess, others drove us to excellence.
There are good memories and bad, happy times and sad, with the man you called your dad.
As we think about this weekend, let us never forget the one valuable thing our fathers gave us: “This life to live.”