Thursday, June 18, 2015

JUNE 21ST...BIG DAY!

           This Sunday is the 21st of June. It’s a big day. First off, it’s Father’s Day, so hooray for that, and, consequently, it is also the first day of summer, so, double hooray, I guess.
            I have probably told you this before, but I’m going to tell you again, that the first day of summer was always my Dad and Mom’s favourite day of the year. Also, in another huge coincidence or divine intervention, depending on your particular views on that type of thing, both Dad and Mom passed on to the afterlife on the 21st of June. Yep, the exact same day of the year. Their favourite day of the year. Dad passed away in 1990 and Mom in 2013.  You know, those two were always in sync.
            Now, if you don’t believe in divinity or anything then the 21st of June is also the day for you for it just happens to be Atheist Solidarity Day! There you go. There’s a day for everyone, I guess.
            It’s also, Baby Boomer Recognition Day, Family Awareness Day, Go Skateboarding Day (?), Husband Caregiver Day (??), National Peaches and Cream Day, World Handshake Day and World Music Day. So if you’re not a Father, or your Dad is gone, there are enough other “Days” you can take part in, if you want to.
            I remember when it used to just be Father’s Day. Wasn’t that enough? Sure, it’d coincide with the summer solstice the odd time but the 3rd Sunday in June was always Father’s Day. When did we have to start crowding these important days with stuff like Go Skateboarding Day and Family Awareness Day? Shouldn’t you be aware of your family everyday…good, bad, absent or otherwise? Hmmm? Just saying.
            Anyway, I recall a good quote about fathers from Mark Twain. He said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Ha! I love that quote. Ain’t it the truth? As I recall Dad and I butted heads more than a time or two. I stubbornly held on to the belief that the old man was pretty stubborn when it came to having an open mind and seeing things my way. Oddly enough, I experienced the same thing in reverse with my own son. The good old right of passage, eh?
            Recently, I was reacquainted with a 1970 song by Cat Stevens, then, he’s Yusuf Islam now, called “Father and Son”. In the song the son is telling his father that it’s time for him to move on to bigger and better things in his life while his father is telling his son to take his time… “think a lot, why, think of everything you’ve got, for you will still be here tomorrow, but you dreams may not.” The song examines the relationship from both sides of the argument. In fact, when recently discussing the lyrics to this forty-five year old song Cat/Yusuf said that he realized that he was speaking of his father’s, father’s, father’s, father’s, father’s, father speaking. I know what he means.
                To me, Fatherhood is a gift. Not everyone gets the chance. Some fathers are with you for a long time while others are gone in a moment. I was lucky enough to have thirty-four years with my Dad. I don’t recall all of them and I wouldn’t have minded having him around for a few more.
Life is fleeting and one piece of advice that he told me over and over back in his “ignorant years” was exactly that, “Life is short, son, make the most of it. You’ll have a hard time believing me now, but in a few years you will know exactly what I mean.” And, boy, do I ever.

“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he was meant to be.”-Frank A. Clark.

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