‘A walking turtle sprinkler. That’s ... something’
Sunday, June 15, 2014 12:00 AM
As you are probably aware, today is Father’s Day. Many of you likely got a gift for your father, or at the very least got him a card.
If you didn’t get him a card, well, Walgreen’s is open. But the selection is probably pretty picked over by now. All they’ll have left is Garfield cards in Spanish. That said, if your father is a Hispanic Garfield fan it might be your lucky day.
While I think Father’s Day is starting to come up in the world a little bit, for many years it definitely took a back seat to Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day just always seemed a little more special than Father’s Day. Mother’s Day is reverent. It’s almost like a religious holiday.
Meanwhile, Father’s Day was always a little goofier. A little lighter. It’s been kind of a running national joke that kids get their dads really bad neckties and stuff like that for Father’s Day.
I can’t be too critical, as I’ve gotten my dad some crazy Father’s Day gifts through the years. One year my brother and I got my dad a “walking turtle” sprinkler for the yard.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen a look on my dad’s face quite like the one he had when he opened that walking turtle sprinkler. It was a strange mix of “Hmm, a walking turtle sprinkler. That’s … something” and “Am I raising baboons?”
If that wasn’t enough, the next year for Father’s Day we got him a talking deer head called “Buck the Animated Trophy Deer.” We actually broke out the video camera and recorded him as he received the “gift.” His reaction was mostly bewilderment, possibly because he had no earthly use for an “animated trophy deer.”
Old Buck never made it up onto my dad’s wall, though I can only assume it is still sitting in his attic. He swears he’s going to re-gift it to me one day, when I least expect it.
I’VE TRIED TO DO BETTER in recent years and get my dad some Father’s Day gifts that he might actually like and enjoy. Or at least something that doesn’t make him weep for humanity.
This year’s gift was tickets to Saturday night’s Atlanta Braves-Los Angeles Angels game at Turner Field. We’ve always enjoyed going to ballgames together, especially Braves games.
I still remember the first Braves game I went to with my dad. I was about 5, and we went to a game at old Fulton County Stadium. We went with a group from Abbeville Presbyterian Church.
The only thing I recall about the actual game was that the Braves lost. It was the 1980s, so of course they lost. But I can still vividly remember that they handed out seat cushions to all the fans that night. I think my dad still has those cushions.
I also remember how big everything seemed in Fulton County Stadium. That feeling never went away. Whenever I walk into Turner Field or Williams-Brice Stadium or any of the dozens of pro and college sporting venues I’ve been blessed to visit, I’m always taken in by that first moment when you walk out of the tunnel and all that color and noise and pageantry washes over you.
That feeling was burned into me the first time my dad took me to the ballpark, and I’ve never lost it.
I love my dad quite a bit. I have a great dad. I have never doubted – not for one second of my life – that he cared about me. I’ve been blessed in that regard.
Now, as I’m steamrolling toward 40, I watch as my dad dotes on my daughter, Charley. His precious Charley Girl. She calls him “Papa.” He says he loves her more than he loves me, and I think he’s serious. Thank God for it, because my baby loves her Papa.
I don’t mean to paint with too broad of a brush, but there seem to be a great many more households today in which the father is not present. I believe that is a root cause to many of the problems we are facing in this nation. Mothers do so much and they are a blessing, but having a loving father in the household means more than you know.
So, spend some time with your dad today. He’s not perfect – my dad wasn’t, and I’m not either – but chances are he’s done the best he can for you.
He probably won’t even mind if you get him an animated trophy deer.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.