Fathers are forever
June 23, 2014
by Jenni Sebora

Fathers Day honors fathers, including father figures and their influence in our society.

Fathers Day began in the early 20th century, to complement Mothers Day. In fact, it was a daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, WA, who created the idea to honor fathers. Her father, William Jackson Smart, was a Civil War veteran who raised six children as a single parent.

In addition to Fathers Day, International Men’s Day is celebrated in many nations Nov. 19, for males who are not fathers.

On Fathers Day, my husband very sincerely vocally expressed to our three children and myself that he has had a lot of good things happen in his life, but the best “things” in his life by far are “them” – his children, and me, his wife.

He truly loves his family and expresses his love for us often. We know we are loved unconditionally by him. He loves each of our children and treats them as individuals with individual needs, goals, and skills. This comes very naturally for him. He does not take his family for granted. He is a wonderful father.

Just last week, I was sitting in a small town café having coffee while waiting for my daughter, who was at a practice.

A coffee klatch group was having a conversation. They were discussing their plans for Fathers Day. One father heartily conveyed that his family always wants to take him out for lunch and purchase some type of fishing pole or gadget for him as a gift, but what he really wants is the day to himself to go fishing or whatever.

I smiled, so I believe he knew I heard what he said. He then revoked his comments and announced that he would like the day to spend with his kids to go to a movie and eat some popcorn. That is a good Fathers Day.

I wonder if he went for lunch and was gifted a new fishing gadget, or spent the day fishing, or saw a movie with his kids. I hope it was good, whatever the activity.

Clarence Budington Kelland said this about his father, “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

My father was this type of role model. As a hard-working farmer who ran his family farm, he worked from sun-up to sundown. He had large hands, but a gentle soul. He took in any stray dog, and helped out family members and neighbors.

He was wise beyond smart. Common sense was the name of the game. But, he also loved to laugh and always made time for some fun. He was thin, but jovial with an infectious laugh. Now, his laugh was barely audible, but his whole body was part of the process – his belly moved, his shoulders shook, his lips spread from ear to ear, and his eyes really did twinkle.

Church and faith were at the top of the list for him and us. We attended church and Sunday school weekly. He held various church offices.

Wearing his work overalls, with his large hands, he taught me how to pitch a softball. A slider and curve ball were his specialties. It was hard for me to emulate his pitching, as my hands were half his size, but I got the technique down and became a pitcher, as did my other sisters. Two of my brothers became baseball pitchers. It was in the genes.

Yep, my dad lived and showed me how to do it. My husband is doing the same for our own children, and for that I am forever grateful. I often tell our children how lucky they are to have “Dad” as their dad.

I know this is very belated, but to all those fathers and father figures out there, thank you. Your active presence in children’s lives is valued, needed, and so appreciated every day, not just on Fathers Day.

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