Fa­ther’s Day

Seaway News - - EDITORIAL& OPINIONS - John Divin­ski

Now this one, you re­ally have to sell. You don’t have this prob­lem with Mother’s Day in May. Ev­ery­one gets geared up for that one. Af­ter all, mom rules the roost. Dad and the kids make sure mom has a spe­cial day that lasts all day.

Then comes Fa­ther’s Day this Sun­day (June 20). In some places it’s more like Fa­ther’s Hour. Just doesn’t seem to last all day. Dad is given a gift or a funny card. Ha ha. Ev­ery­one has a good laugh and then ev­ery­one is off do­ing their own thing again. Dad is left to fend for him­self. Se­cretly though, dad doesn’t mind. It’s just what dads do.

On the In­ter­net on one web­site it says Fa­ther's Day is a cel­e­bra­tion in hon­our of all fa­thers and takes place on the third Sun­day of June. Fa­ther's Day is a day of com­mem­o­ra­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of dad. It is a day to not only to hon­our your fa­ther, but all men who have acted as a fa­ther fig­ure in your life - whether as step­fa­thers, un­cles, grand­fa­thers or "Big Broth­ers." Nor­mally, chil­dren and wives do or buy some­thing for their fa­thers and hus­bands (at this point the web­site goes into a com­mer­cial to buy some­thing).

Per­son­ally, I can’t re­mem­ber what my brother and I ever bought for my dad on Fa­ther’s Day. We would give him some­thing, I’m sure, be­cause our mom would make sure that would hap­pen. I’m sure many fam­i­lies are the same way.

I can’t re­mem­ber what I bought him but I sure do re­mem­ber him be­ing there for what were mo­men­tous oc­ca­sions in my life.

I’ve prob­a­bly shared this story a thou­sand times so please for­give me if you’ve heard it be­fore.

One of the most pre­cious mem­o­ries I have is on my 10th or 11th birth­day and I had my dad all to my­self. It’s in­ter­est­ing how kids covet those hours or min­utes and some­times days where they can have a par­ent to them­selves. The kids aren’t be­ing mean. They of course share with their sib­lings, but it was a spe­cial time when it was one on one with dad or mom. Any­way, I di­gress. That spe­cial birth­day. My dad took me down to the lo­cal drug store and I was al­lowed to buy ten comic books. Ten! That was a dol­lar’s worth of comic books (they cost a dime each back then, un­less you bought one of those “Clas­sic” comic books that had more pages and then it was 15 cents). So that was the start. Ten comic books. Then we hopped a bus and went to the Hamil­ton Fo­rum on Barton Street ( Hamil­to­ni­ans will get a me­mory or two out of that) to watch the wrestling matches. None of the glitz they have nowa­days, no sir, this was the real stuff ( at least it was to a 10 or 11 year old).

I re­mem­ber we saw Hans Sch­midt (who was the peren­nial bad guy) but I can’t re­mem­ber who he was wrestling ( no one ever re­mem­bers the good guy). In any event, there was a celebrity ref­eree— boxer Joe Louis ( ask your grand­fa­ther). To a kid like me, Joe had no idea what he was do­ing in the ring and tried to keep con­trol but was los­ing it. Some lady tossed one of her shoes at him and hit him in the cheek ( on his face, not else­where). Lit­tle did I re­al­ize that many years later, while work­ing in ra­dio in Sar­nia, On­tario, that dur­ing an an­nual Sports­men Din­ner fundraiser, my job was to keep Joe Louis en­ter­tained dur­ing the day as he was the guest speaker at the din­ner that night. Don’t know if I ever brought up that wrasslin’ match to him in Hamil­ton.

Any­way, that en­tire me­mory, as clear as a bell to me, was com­pli­ments of my dad who was al­ways there for his two boys.

My dad couldn’t stand on a pair of ice skates but he made sure his two boys and the rest of the neigh­bour­hood kids piled into his de­liv­ery truck on the week­end and he’d trek us off to one out­door rink or an­other. He would freeze in his truck and we kids would play for hours on the ice be­cause we knew how to skate. Af­ter all, what are an­kles for?

He was there to teach me how to ride a bike and later how to drive a car. Yes, back then, there weren’t any driv­ing schools. You were taught by fam­ily.

He was there to teach me an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of mu­sic of all kinds. Sure I had my rock and roll when I was grow­ing up but I am stu­dent of all gen­res of mu­sic thanks to him.

He was there to en­cour­age me to keep prac­tic­ing as I was learn­ing to play pi­ano. He was a bad player him­self and his brother was a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian.

He was there to teach me new cuss words when a do-it-your­self con­struc­tion project at home didn’t go as smoothly as it could. He’d al­ways get it done and I learned some choice words along the way.

He seemed to be al­ways there. Nice feel­ing to have. I was blessed.

Then one day, there we were in a hos­pi­tal. He was on a bed hooked up to all kinds of tubes and we looked at each other and I felt I was there for him.

As we made eye con­tact, he had his fi­nal heart at­tack and he wasn’t there any more.

It was not an easy time for me and to this day, the month of May is a tough month for me.

He may not be here in body but he sure is in spirit. How else could I write this col­umn based on mem­o­ries alone.

Happy Fa­ther’s Day to all the dads, un­cles, etc out there and a spe­cial Happy Fa­ther’s Day to my dad— he was al­ways there.

I’m John Divin­ski.

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