June 19, 1983
Dad’s first morning back in Michigan is a special one. It’s Father’s Day morning. Dad actually refers to Father’s Day as Father’s Day Weekend. Every year he tells Mom, “Father’s Day Weekend starts Friday night and ends early Monday morning.”
To this Mom always responds, “You are not my father.”
We tell Dad to relax on Father’s Day. We tell him that he doesn’t have to do anything. That doesn’t ever work. Father’s Day is the one day of the year that Dad keeps himself busy. On Father’s Day chores get done. The lawn always gets mowed and the gutters always get cleaned.
Mom would put it this way; “Little chores around the house FINALLY get done.”
Dad likes to work alone on Father’s Day.
Father’s Day is also a day to buy Dad stuff. We bought him a funny Father’s Day card. Most Father’s Day cards are funny…or try to be. Shelby and I signed our names to it, like always. I signed Rob’s name, like always. Rob must always be too busy to sign his own name.
Along with the card we give Dad a gift. We try to be creative. One year we bought him a coffee cup that said “World’s Greatest Dad”. I have never seen him drink from that cup. We have also bought him a cap that says “World’s Greatest Dad”. I have never seen him wear that cap. We have even bought him a tee-shirt that says “World’s Greatest Dad”. Dad has never worn that tee-shirt. Then again, Dad doesn’t usually wear tee-shirts that say anything…but Grandpa Pete does.
“Grandpa’s car is coming down the street,” Shelby said as she kept watch at the living room picture window.
“Let’s hope he’s driving to the store,” Dad whispered to himself.
“I heard that,” Mom said. “It’s Father’s Day and he will pull into our driveway and visit.”
“He’s not your father, either,” Dad reminded her.
“No…but he is your father,” Mom replied. “Honor thy father…it’s a good lesson for the kids and it’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s a little late to start quoting the Bible, isn’t it?” Dad asked just before Mom gave him his Father’s Day kick in the shins.
“Well…” Dad said as he rubbed his shin, “He had better not be wearing that insulting tee-shirt.”
“Grandpa’s pulling into the driveway,” Shelby announced.
“He’s walking up to the front door,” Shelby reported. “Ooo, he’s carrying a bunch of flowers.”
Grandpa always brings a Father’s Day present…for Mom. Mom opened the door and gave Grandpa a hug.
“Happy Father’s Day!” she said as she welcomed him into the house.
Grandpa handed her a bunch of yellow daisies and said, “This is for you…for putting up with your Mother-In-Law’s son.”
“My pleasure,” Mom said with a smile.
Dad hid in the kitchen. The pilot light was out in the oven. He was on his knees in front of the open oven door as Mom walked in to put her daisies in a vase. Grandpa followed. He looked down at Dad and asked, “Hey Sylvia Plath, what’s for dinner?”
Dad looked up and said, “I hate that tee shirt.”
Grandpa wore the tee-shirt. He only wears it on Father’s Day. He ALWAYS wears it on Father’s Day. It’s almost as if Grandpa is proud to wear it. He's proud to tell the world, the whole world that:
MY SON IS A
“I wear it just for you, son,” said Grandpa.
“I know, Father…I hate that tee-shirt.” Dad growled as he lit the pilot light.
“If you hate it so much,” said Grandpa, “You got my blessing to do whatever you like to it…when I die.”
Dad stood up from the kitchen floor, turned to his father, and offered a Father’s Day handshake.
“Happy Father’s Day, Father” he said to Grandpa.
“Happy Father’s Day to you, son,” Grandpa replied with a smile on his old face and a sparkle in his glass eye.
Dad smiled back and asked, “When is it again that I shall be blessed to do whatever I like to your favorite tee-shirt?”
“I said…” Grandpa said, “When I die!”“I can’t wait,” Dad said. “I can’t wait.”