A week from today is Father’s Day, and I’m doing my part to assure we get a fair shake this year.
Moms are revered in May. And rightly so. We dads get our shot in June, sometime between the end of the school year and the Fourth of July.
Though starting my “father” role a little later than most, I can unequivocally state: “It’s a great gig.”
Make no mistake that it’s trying to be a dad figure, all-wise and knowing, when there are times you’d just like to shoot a spit wad from a straw.
With Chris and Greg well into driving, I have become conditioned to cringing whenever a phone call starts: “Hey Dad…” The news is never good and can involve anything from car problems to money woes.
Besides, I’ve come to realize the irrefutable fact a text means all is calm, a phone call is “man your battle stations!”
I’m proposing a moratorium on “Hey Dad” calls from today until June 30. That is, unless my supreme skills are needed to handle the crisis du jour.
When the boys were smaller, the problems were more miniscule. Tears could go away with a simple: “Don’t worry. Super Dad can handle anything.”
The cat is now out of the bag: All parenting is flying by the seat of your pants.
The queries about what I want for my day have begun. It’s always tough to channel Ralphie from “Christmas Story” and spout off what I’d like to have.
I like the Papa Kenny approach to gifts. He wanted a new grill for his birthday and bought himself a Traeger Timberline he uses most everyday. There was no chance for an error. He bought it so the Cagles could sing Happy Birthday while getting ready to devour a rib eye.
Again, I might be overstepping my spokesman duties here, but going out on a limb, it’s pretty safe what we don’t want:
Neckties: The most worthless piece of clothing ever invented. They serve no purpose, except to make us hotter in the summer and act as a food magnet for whatever we’re having for lunch.
Hip-hop music: Saw “Hamilton” at the Fox recently and yearned for some real music. In case you’re interested, Jerry Jeff, Robert Earl or all Classic Rock will make our ears smile.
Aftershave or cologne: If we use it, we probably have plenty. Although there are other uses for “smell good juice.”
John Prine sings “Christmas in Prison,” a dandy of a song that brings back a pertinent childhood memory: Father’s Day at a county work farm, where my dad was lodging after getting pinched.
Mom got me, along with brothers Matt and Marty, ready and off we went. Pop had a request for a gift: any kind of aftershave would make it a memorable day. After all, there’s something about an Aqua Velva man.
The warden said the aftershave was a no-no. Apparently the fellas in Cell Block A wanted to drink the stuff. I guess I should have been wise enough at 12 to question why my dad wanted to smell good while locked up. I’d seen Jailhouse Rock and Elvis concerned himself with singing and not dousing himself with English Leather.
It wouldn’t be tragic for any dad to hear: “I’ve got some extra money here in my wallet, Pops. You want some?”
Maybe next Sunday will spark memories of that endless supply of dinero that bought all those carousel rides at the mall.
An “I think I’ll clean out the garage,” or “I’m gonna cut the grass” would be most welcome. But in reality, just being relevant is a pretty good reward for the angst that goes hand-in-hand with this role.
I once gave my stepdad a vibrating razor that cut him to ribbons. He used it once and looked like he’d lost a fight with a tomcat. Not nearly good as my early gift I received this past Wednesday when I got a special daddy moment.
Chris, along with the two Katies (Eubanks and Wortham), headed for Chastain Park and saw the antithesis of all music rap. John Fogerty and ZZ Top tore the place down, blasting away until the 10:30 p.m. curfew.
My ears are still ringing. But the smile remains. All three are 21 and we put a dent in the swag tents and refreshment stands. They sang along to “Tush” and danced along with the former hippies in the audience.
Chris has become my concert buddy and I know he had a smile on his face while indulging ol’ Dadoo. He’s young, his hearing will come back. He got a great T-shirt and I received a gift to go in my memory bank that will die when I do.
Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. If anyone wants some neckties, he’ll share his tie rack with anyone who asks. And he’ll share whatever he cooks on a Traeger Timberline that might appear on his deck. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Facebook.