Deserved yet discrepant

Walsh's Wonderings
Walsh's Wonderings

Sunday is Father’s Day, when we tell our dads how much they mean to us and how grateful we are for everything they’ve given their families. If tradition holds, cake and an ugly tie will follow.

Father’s Day has always been the 70-pound weakling to Mother’s Day when it comes to celebrations. According to Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fourth-biggest card-sending occasion at 87 million per year — but that’s a whopping 37% less than what’s sold for Mother’s Day. AT&T reported 83 million phone calls were made on Father’s Day in 1992, compared to 106 million for Mother’s Day. Even worse, 27% more of Dad’s calls were collect. BIGresearch, a market intelligence firm, states consumers spend 27% more for Mother’s Day than Father’s Day.

If our parents gave out birthday presents to our siblings with such inequity, we’d ask for emancipation.

The holiday itself wasn’t officially signed into law until 1972, almost 60 years after Woodrow Wilson recognized Mother’s Day. It’s hard to pin down why dads have been getting the short end of the stick for so long. My guess is we don’t usually view dads as the warm and fuzzy side of the parental unit. Even Sherwood Schwartz, creator of The Brady Bunch, wanted Gene Hackman for the role of father Mike Brady; that pretty much says it all.

My family went to Mom for TLC, but Dad was the ATM. Maybe it’s better for seahorses, where the males carry the eggs and birth the babies. However, something tells me seahorse kids still complain about the Father’s Day family dinner before asking for a raise in allowance.

I didn’t get enough chances as an adult to thank my father for the sacrifices he made on a regular basis. Instead, I bought those bad ties he felt obligated to wear. I once gave him a half-empty bottle of cologne I’d found in the woods; another time, I nailed a bunch of two-by-fours together and called it a ship. If I’d really wanted to give the perfect gift, I’d have admitted I broke his wrench set building my Science Fair project; that for years I’d been sweeping the dirt in our garage underneath the oil burner; that I ate the cookies he hid in the freezer.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with the most supportive, endearing and forgiving father-in-law a guy could ever ask for. I’ve tried to come up with ways to show my appreciation for all he’s done for me that don’t include breaking his tools. Often this includes becoming his punching bag on the paddle tennis court or during a game of Scrabble.

Each day, he continues to teach me what it means to be a man. Whether it’s going out of his way to make sure everyone feels included, offering assistance at every turn, or clipping endless articles and cartoons he thinks people might like, he is constantly thinking of others. I can think of no better role model, and no one more deserving of a holiday like Father’s Day.

Thank you, Dick King, for all that you’ve done for me. I’ll get you that bottle of cologne as soon as I’ve used up the first half.

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