Father’s Day is Sunday. It’s the day we honor and remember our dads. My dad died eight years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was sitting at the kitchen table in my parents’ home talking about the events of the day, watching a ball game or enjoying a good ‘gushy’ dessert.
Gumps, as he was forever-named by his first grandchild, was a good dad. He raised five kids and still had some time to take us to the lake, play ball in the yard, attend school activities, raise show steers, and teach us right from wrong. He was also quite an athlete in his day, having played high school sports, college basketball and then fast-pitch softball with the locally famed Havana Rappers. He later took up golf, which he never mastered well but still enjoyed playing.
(Incidently, my brother and I never got that athletic gene from Gumps, but that didn’t stop him from showing us the way.) He was a World War II Navy veteran who served on an aircraft carrier, first in the Atlantic and then in the Pacific – dodging Kamikazes – as U.S. forces bloodily jumped from island to island toward Japan.
He also had a knack for nicknaming everyone, from us five kids to all our family friends, both young and old. We laugh about those names to this day and the other words he’d use to describe different things, like ‘gushy,’ the word I used above. I think some of them were German words but really have no idea where they came from. We siblings still use them in our day-to-day conversations.
Dads are an important part of our lives, which saddens me when I think of all those who don’t know or have grown apart from their dads. Dads are who mold us into the kind of adults we eventually become.
I had one son, and as a dad I think I raised him right. He has made me a granddad with four beautiful children. With all of this in mind, to honor dads and granddads, both living and deceased, I have found these two poems:
What Makes a Dad
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad
Grandfathers Are Fathers Who Are Grand
Grandfathers are fathers who are grand,
Restoring the sense that our most precious things
Are those that do not change much over time.
No love of childhood is more sublime,
Demanding little, giving on demand,
Far more inclined than most to grant the wings
Allowing us to reach enchanted lands.
Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers,
Helping out with young and restless hearts,
Each has all the patience wisdom brings,
Remembering our passions more than others,
Soothing us with old and well-honed arts.