By some lucky roll of the dice, it keeps ending up my turn to post on some significant holiday or festivus or the like. And this Sunday is no exception. So without further ado, let me wish a Happy Happy Fathers Day to all the men out there who are loving, hugging, feeding and burping their children every day.
Seeing as I know lots of mothers and children, I’m also fortunate to know lots of exceptional dads. All are outstanding examples of what it means to be a Dad and to be meaningfully interested in, confounded by, and committed to their families. All are raising a crop of most excellent human beings. I’m so glad that there’s a day that we take to acknowledge the impact of their involvement in our lives.
Let’s admit it, they deserve more than a pat on the back and a pack of smokes right?
So let me use this weekly forum as a virtual greeting card to give a shout-out to my homies, “the Dads”:
To big daddy Nick, to Nilesh, to Drew, & Brad & Andy & Jonny-Boy Nutting – just to name just a few.
To the dad named Jason at the birthday party I went to yesterday who dressed in full pirate-captain regalia and wrote a soliloquy of scavenger-hunt poetry and pounded around the house with a mob of 5 & 6 years olds looking for further clues.
To my awesome brothers Paul and Sean and to my brother-in-law Jeff. You really do “do it all”!
You guys are the best. We know that in your heyday you had a little more swagger in the bars and sports fields…or wherever else you frequented. But these days you’re still holdin’ it down in the h.o.m.e.
If you haven’t seen it yet, this goes out to you guys…for keeping it real in the organic produce aisle!
And let me not forget my own dear husband Keith who, along with being our sole provider and pursuing a successful teaching career, has been known to change many a diaper, dry tears, vacuum (sometimes obsessively!), scrub the kitchen floor on his hands and knees (I kid you not) and play endless games of Sorry and Candyland with the kids.
He is absolutely and deeply involved with parenting our two sons and his step-son (my first born) in way that defies even his own father’s generational ideals of what the role entailed. And for that I am grateful! So thanks babe for all you do. We couldn’t make it without you!
No ode to fathers would be complete without acknowledging my own dad Ross Powers who has imparted many gifts to me over the years. My dad is curious, creative, focused, and idealistic. He always gives his full, interested, attention to the cashier ringing him upand he deplores call-waiting for the rude interruption that it is. What’s not to respect?
Lately, when I think of my dad I think of this story which he relayed to me one day on the phone and which I think captures the courage and conviction that my dad always demonstrates. Thanks to my husband, who needs to add ‘bad-ass cartoonist’ to his list of accolades, we came up with an illustrated version of dad’s tale (tail, hah!) and it goes something like this:
Not long ago there was a big rogue cat, homeless and prowling the streets of my dad’s North Berkeley neighborhood. This fearsome Tom was terrorizing the local cats and in particular had dealt a couple beatings to my dad’s cat Charles. Now Charles is not small and he’s not a wallflower, so for him to have been on the losing end of a smack-down, you know it’s serious.
One day, my dad spots this intruder skulking along the fence in his side yard. Carpe Diem! he thinks, and rushes outside to confront his foe. Now, to hear my Dad tell it, this cat was FIERCE and wasn’t going down without a fight. He bit and scratched at my dad who had the cat pinned down under his boot while he shouted to my step-mom for back up. That measure wasn’t enough and he was forced to hold the beast down with a handy piece of plywood while it thrashed wildly about. (Note to animal-lovers, no critters were hurt in the making of this cartoon, but as to the actuasl incident…well, I can’t speculate…)
Finally my step-mom brings out the cat carrier and insists that my dad take the howling captive to the local ‘no-kill’ Berkeley shelter which features after hours drop-boxes (cages) where you can surrender animals with no questions asked. After somehow stuffing the cat into the carrier and driving with it hissing and spitting across town in order to “do the right thing”, I’m sure that fantasies of drop-kicking the terrorist off a handy ocean liner danced through my dad’s head.
Nevertheless somehow he finally made it and manage to transfer the cat into the shelter cages without incurring any bodily injury himself. I do know that something fell from his cat carrier into the other cage during the struggle and my dad abandoned it, not daring to put his hand in to retrieve it.
I believe at this point he wrote a note to the shelter staff outlining just how much of a threat to feline society this creature was and stated the case for life-imprisonment or perhaps, death row. Knowing my dad to be a reasonable and measured man I’m sure he made his argument with great aplomb but why he signed it with his real name and contact phone number, I’ll never understand.
Me, I would have slammed the door and bade the vicious beast farewell with a “kiss my grits cat”, but my dad is a solid and good-man and I know he called the shelter the next day just to ‘follow-up’ on the situation.
“Oh that mean cat,” the lady on the phone said “he was beyond redemption”. (Okay that’s artistic licence, I don’t know what they really said). But I do know that in my eyes and in those of my step-mom and ALL the house cats on his street, most especially the newly re-throned Charles, my dad is a hero. He bravely stood up to aggression when fate came knocking – and didn’t hesitate to put a boot on it.