Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Remembering my dad on Father's Day

I’ve been thinking about my dad lately. Father’s Day is approaching and even though my pop died more than 20 years ago, I still think about what kind of gift he might like to have for Father’s Day.
Dad had a weird sense of humor and wasn’t particularly helpful when we asked him for gift suggestions. Each year it was the same.

Me: “Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

Dad: “A new butt. Mine’s cracked.”

My dad is in the center wearing sunglasses. This  picture was taken 
at a Cub's game  at Wrigley Field in 1960.

This was the same response for Christmas, birthdays and other gift-giving occasions. I don’t know which was sillier, his corny response or the fact that my siblings and I continued to ask the same question.
That is not to say that we didn’t come up with some good gifts over the years. My brothers Terry and Dennis took him to ball games, my older sister, Diane, bought tickets so he and mom could go out to a show, my sister, Tina’s fiancĂ© bought him a new television and VCR (back when the technology was new.)  My sister-in-law, Joanie, always bought him a new pair of slippers. Dad wore slippers all the time so he needed replacements on a regular basis.

However, the gift that I think he enjoyed the most was a nutcracker my spouse, John, and I bought him. It wasn’t any ole nutcracker. This little marvel held the nut in place and a weight (released from a rubber-band-type launcher) cracked the pecans perfectly in half. 

My dad loved nuts and we had three pecan trees in the yard. Having grown up in the heart of Chicago but probably being a country boy at heart, my dad loved it that he could go outside, gather nuts and pick fruit (especially citrus) and make something from scratch. Even during his years of dementia he never tired of making fresh squeezed lemonade or cracking a bowl full of pecans. 

What made this gift special is it was directly related to his passion. Now cracking nuts is not MY passion, but it was something my dad loved to do. So rather than buy him Old Spice or another useless tie, we hit the mark with the nut cracker that year.

But now that my dad is gone, I still think of how I might have done things differently.  What my father (and I think most fathers) want is to spend quality time with their children. As we get older we have the money to purchase bigger and better things, but finding the time to spend the day with dad is sometimes more difficult than cracking a nut without a nut cracker.  It makes me think of the Harry Chapin song, “Cats in the Cradle” song chronicling the busy life of a father and son.

It can be difficult to find the time to spend an entire evening or afternoon with dad, but there are options - even for those of us who are time challenged. Why not ask dad to come and join you for a simple errand? It could be a trip to the post office, a walk to the store, or you could even ask your pop to ride shot gun while you pick up the kids from school?

I miss my dad, but when I think of the corny things he used to say, it still makes me smile. The other day I was helping my granddaughter with her toilet training. She goes to preschool and she is obsessed with naming things.  She pointed to her butt and said, “What’s my butt’s name?” I told her “Briannah’s butt.” If she would have said “I want a new one, mine’s cracked” I would know that my dad had reincarnated back into our lives again.

Briannah is the ghost on the left and her sister, Rosannah, is on the right.

Of course she didn’t say that, but when she smiled at her question (she knew she was being funny) I couldn’t help but think a new nut was born.  And with her budding sense of humor it would seem the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

If you’re interested in a unique gift for your dad, consider buying a copy of my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. You can buy it through Amazon, Smashwords or by contacting me through this blog. For more information about the book go to