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Father’s Day is June 21st, and like every other year, this one is no different.  The holiday is strictly second class.  It can’t compare with Mother’s Day in any way. Dads don’t get expensive gifts.  They don’t have endless numbers of songs written about how wonderful they are. Most dads will say this is just fine with them, they’d rather it this way, low key.  But how real is that?  I have real questions about it!

My own dad had less humility about Father’s Day. He preferred to be proactive.  I recall his making up a sign that read, “Place All Gifts Here,” and standing it up on the dining room table.  Of course, we all laughed heartily when we saw it, but I don’t think it made much difference where his cache was concerned.  Still not too impressive.

Modern day society has even done in to a great extent the one really good gift dad used to get on Father’s Day.  A fine home cooked meal.  Now, Dad is taken out to dinner and, ironically, he often pays for the experience.  Poor dad!

A Box of Cigars

Dad’s gifts are also pretty mundane.  Predictable.  A tie And, back when smoking was more permissible, a box of good cigars. Now, even that is taboo.


  • Riverboat Gambler Hat.  Just look at this handsome Panama straw look hat with tight toyo weave!  It will give dad the romantic look of a Southern Gentleman, straight off the silver screen.  Fabulous, trendy retro.

Just Say It

I join with a dozen or more friends every morning for coffee at the local bagel shop where we often discuss things we’d never mention elsewhere.  This was the case a few years ago with Bob, who developed cancer and was only given a short time to live.  One morning Bob confided in us that he felt really terrible about never having told any of his four sons, then grown, that he loved them.  He just couldn’t, he said.  He didn’t know how.  And yet the absence of putting that love into words tore him apart.

Most of us offered him words of advice, suggestions on what he might say or how he might say it. Just blurt it out, someone offered.  Or, hit one of them on the shoulder and say, “I love you, buster.” The theory here was that acting tough sometimes makes it easier to be emotional.  But nothing seemed to hit home. Weeks passed.  The subject was dropped, although none of us forgot it.

Then, out of nowhere, Bob came in one morning beaming.  He told them, he said. One by one by one by one..  He said, “I love you.”  And each one of them, in turn, said, “I love you, too, Pop.”  How do you like that?

Bob died a few weeks later.  He had accomplished what he so wanted to do, and gained so much more than he could have imagined.  No Father’s Day gifts.  No brouhaha.  No songs.  Just the recognition of love.


If you haven’t ever said I love you to your father or your kids, you might work on it.  It’s really important.  If you have said it a thousand times well…say it a thousand times more.

This is what remembering Dad is all about. And if you think it won’t mean anything to Dad, you’re wrong!

—Oh yes…and don’t be such a cheap skate!  Here are some great gifts to add to the celebration:

  • Men’s tie with tall ship emblazoned on it.  Sails are set to the wind on this handsome symmetrically patterned tie. Ship is dramatic, set against a dark blue backdrop.

Memories of my Grandfather, too

My grandfather was an elegant but stern faced old gentleman of German descent.  He had rules for everything.  Put on shoes before you go outside.  Turn off the lights when you go from room to room. Close the screen door in the summer.  He was The Law, and all us kids were scared to death of him.

One day, when I was about seven, I must have gone insane.  I went into his house, ran up to him, threw my arms around his neck and gave him a big hug.  Then, to make things worse, “Smack!” I gave him a big kiss, too.  It was unthinkable! Everybody held their breath.  But grandpop just smiled from ear to ear, and said nothing.

The thing is, he never yelled at me again.  Each time I saw him, I gave him a hug, and each time he saw me, he smiled.  My cousins all complained in confusion that I was his favorite, though they couldn’t figure out why.  Years later, it occurred to me how easy it was.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, May 30th, 2009

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