Our Fathers

To the dads in our lives, and those in our hearts. To the memories that get more precious over time. 

This year, Americans will spend an estimated $22.9 billion on Father’s Day, according to a June statistic by the National Retail Federation. After years of countless fun Father’s Day memories, it feels possible that all that spending could have come from my wallet alone.

If your house was anything like mine growing up, Father’s Day was a once a yearly dedication to the men in your family (and the patriarchs of my family took full advantage.)

As a kid, you learned quickly what your day would entail based upon the most important factor in your household. Sports. Always sports.

If the Phillies had a first pitch in the afternoon hours (12:35 P.M. or 1:35 P.M.) you were in for a super-compressed day of ceremonious events honoring the key male influences in your life complete with gifts and refreshments. If those Fightin’ Phils were a later start time (4:35 P.M., 8:35 P.M. or heaven-forbid not playing) your Sunday responsibilities quickly turned into an all-day coronation.

The morning began with a coordinated attempt to see the Grandfathers. I say coordinated because you could never get an exact time when they would commit to receive you. And with two of them, that presented deep logistical problems that had your house in an argument for a week prior to the Holiday.

Taking them out for dinner the night before (or out to a lunch in the afternoon) required a full-time event planner. For one event, and only one meal at that. The only proven, effective solution was to lean on those in the family hierarchy who routinely resolved male squabbles in the family: the mothers and grandmothers. By Thursday night, the plans were as permanent as the concrete front walkway.

So after the designated meal, followed by some brief gift-giving, the TV was on and the day was over. Until next year.

As the years rolled by, the significance of paying tribute to the men who instilled life’s most important lessons was not lost on me. My maternal grandfather lived until age 93 and each year he was equally humbled and pleased at any plan for the day that was proposed to him, whether it was a gift or a meal. Always, it was both.

After he passed, it was just Dad and I.

Every year, I tried to keep him guessing by spending a great deal of time selecting the perfect gift each June. Something useful, not too typical, not too predicable. No matter how outlandish the gift, he always appreciated it. He never missed an opportunity to enjoy his day.

All of my male role models have now left me. The third weekend in June that had once held so much meaning is now only an ordinary Sunday. But the memories that I enjoyed for forty-two years will always be special.

As you make your plans for Sunday, do yourself a favor and block some time for fathers and grandfathers. If you live a distance, plan an extended phone call or a Zoom call and lunch. If you live in proximity, make a trip to see old Dad. He’ll be happy that you did. You will be too.

In Loving Memory of my father and author, Thomas J. Leibrandt.

The author with his father (June 2008)

Happy Fathers Day to all our readers with sons and daughters celebrating you today. For those of us who are missing someone this year, we feel your loss and honor it. May this day bring comfort in remembering the men who have made a difference in our lives.

About Michael Thomas Leibrandt 11 Articles
Michael Thomas Leibrandt is an Engineer/Consultant/Author/Creator. He lives and works with celiac in Abington, PA

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