My father is a quiet man with an extremely quick sense of humor, which age hasn't dulled. He enjoys playing golf -- and he's got quite a good game. He comes from a small family and is one of two children. My mother, on the other hand, comes from a family of 13! You can imagine how different holidays were at my respective grandparents' homes when I was growing up.
Dad joined the Army so he could have a way to attend college. He was stationed in Seattle and later in Nevada, where he witnessed the testing of the atomic bomb. On a visit home to Beckley, West Virginia, his smart uniform caught the eye of a lovely young lady. Guess who? That's right -- my mother! The two were married within a year, and their wedding date is the weekend after Jackie wed John Kennedy.
Every son wants to give his dad the perfect Father's Day gift. Back in 1970, I saved and saved to buy him a Norelco shaving can heater. "What am I supposed to do with this?" he asked, always a practical man. Last year, I did much better. I bought him a set of Ping golf clubs and a bag. He was duly impressed.
The thing about Father's Day gifts is this: You can't buy Dad the perfect thing because he's already given you the gift of setting the perfect example. My dad is truly a great man. He taught me respect. And he taught me patience. When I find myself going 100 miles a minute, I pause and think of my father. I can hear him saying, "Slow down and think about this, boy."
And you know what? I always do.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
My father in the uniform that caught my mother's eye.
Photo courtesy: Monte Durham