Friday, June 13, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Father's Day

Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Its first celebration was on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children.

It’s always good to know a little about the origins of our family holidays. Many a deserving father receives cards and gifts on this day, as well he should. Just like mom, he works hard to provide for his family and deserves to be appreciated.
My recollections of celebrating this day with my dad are some for the fondest ones I have.  I followed him where ever he went; out in the garage or down in the basement. While he built our house, we would have our lunch together sitting on top of the roof. That drove my mom crazy. But I was never afraid when I was with my dad. What I remember most was how challenging it was to find a gift for him. He was a hard-working man, always toiling away at something. If it wasn’t his job as a machinist, his hands always oily and greasy, he was working on building our house or working in the garden. His only past time was reading the newspaper and he cherished this time when he could just sit and read. He also loved cigars and that was the one thing he always received for every special occasion. I still have one of his cigar boxes.
Keith remembers how his pop would play with him and when he became a dad, he did the same with his kids.
After I was married, Father’s Day had a new focus. The first year we were married, Keith became a father. We still shared the day with our dads, but now things were different. I still bought mine his box of cigars and Keith gave his father a new fishing pole.
But the day seemed different.
We had our baby Tiffeni and we celebrated Father’s Day feeling quite overwhelmed with the challenges that awaited us both.
For the next seventeen years, Tiffeni and Keith were inseparable. They did everything together and were liked kindred spirits. She loved being with her papa when he was building our house, she like playing down in the basement or out in the garage. (Sound familiar?) Wherever he was, she was. When we moved to Florida they went to baseball games together he taught her how to grow a garden. They shared their love for history, architecture, and adventure. Every Father’s Day she presented him with cards and gifts, and as she got older, she wrote philosophical thoughts reflecting on her love for her him.
Two months after Tiffeni turned seventeen, she got a baby brother, Charlie. Never did we think that another child would come into our lives. And boy! Did our lives change. This bouncy baby boy fulfilled so many wishes for all of us. 
Tiffeni was in her last year of high school when Charlie was born. The next year she would be off to college. Keith and my plans change dramatically. But that was OK. We both enjoyed another childhood. Charlie became papa’s little boy and they, too, became inseparable.  

Pictures and stories should be recalled during Mother’s & Father’s Days. What makes these memories even better are the greeting cards. Look back at the April 21 posting about what to do with old greeting cards. The advice there puts the monumental task of organizing kept cards into manageable projects that will help you manage and keep your memories alive. When I found the box of the hundreds of cards I saved over the decades, it was a formidable task sorting them out. I can’t tell you how many I threw out and saved for a contribution to St. Jude’s recycling program. But once I started to organize them, every card was a trip down memory lane. Here are a few Father’s Day cards from the kids and even one from me.

 Tiffeni was the first born. When Tif was old enough to pick out her own cards, she selected ones that reflected some their activities they shared, like gardening, and fun and quite times she cherished with her papa.

Charlie loved to draw in the cards he gave his papa. Especially ships. Keith would ask Charlie, “Who’s my favorite boy”? Even now, and this year Charlie turned 27, Keith still refers to Charlie as his favorite boy. Very endearing!
           The one card I love very much was how even at a young age, Charlie understood his father’s challenging times, and his Father’s day card that year offered him words of encouragement.
This card was the first one from me for Keith’s first Father’s Day, dated June 9, 1970, about six weeks after Tiffeni was born. Inside it said, "Ours has been a heir raising experience!

This Sunday is Father’s Day and Keith will be given more cards.  I will save these, too, and put them in his memory box. And if and when a day should come when memories are more cherished than ever, he can look back and read all of his cards and enjoy the life he gave and shared with his children. Happy Father’s Day!

Have a great weekend.    

Next Post: Here comes the Bride!


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