The ones called ‘Daddy’

The Covington News - - Front page -

Gripped in the heat of a typ­i­cal Ge­or­gia sum­mer, Fa­ther’s Day nev­er­the­less al­lows us to honor those most hal­lowed in our pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety — our fa­thers. Yes, Amer­ica’s still a man’s world. Women’s ad­vo­cates and bleed­ing heart lib­er­als can protest all they want. But when push comes to shove, Amer­ica wants John Wayne in the fox­hole — and in the White House!

Our an­nual ob­ser­vance of Fa­ther’s Day, there­fore, calls for re­flec­tion upon the in­ef­fa­ble essence which makes our fa­thers spe­cial.

He’s the guy your mother fell in love with, all those years ago. He’s the ap­ple of his daugh­ter’s eye, and the idol his lit­tle boy looks up to. He’s the man who chases trou­bles away just by walk­ing into a room. The fam­ily dog starts yap­ping at the sound of his truck in the drive­way, and with tail wag­ging wildly greets him at the door. And he’s still the man your mom looks to when it’s thun­der­ing and light­ning...or just to snug­gle with on the couch.

Fa­thers come in all shapes and sizes. They’re tall and mus­cu­lar and move with ath­letic ease, or they’re short and fat and walk like a pen­guin. Fa­thers are young, in the prime of their chrono- log­i­cal life; and they’re mid­dle-aged and at the zenith of their eco­nomic earn­ing power. Some few fa­thers are even older men who may not pos­sess the en­ergy of younger men, but whose ex­pe­ri­ence helps de­cide which is­sues are bat­tles to fight...or wa­ter to let flow un­der the bridge.

Some fa­thers are rich and pow­er­ful men who work a lot, travel a lot, but pro­vide not only a house but also a lake cot­tage and a ski chalet.

Other fa­thers pro­vide only the bare ne­ces­si­ties of life for their fam­i­lies while work­ing two jobs; they, too, work a lot and stay gone a lot, but the fam­ily knows why.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s a shift­less bunch of fa­thers out there, too: men sat­is­fied to sow their oats and skip out on re­spon­si­bil­ity. When I sit in my fa­vorite chair and re­flect on what’s wrong with Amer­ica, that’s pretty much my start­ing point.

When men in our pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety ab­ro­gate their fun­da­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, this great nation’s foun­da­tion of val­ues crum­bles even more.

But Fa­ther’s Day is not about those folks. At least, not in my book. Ev­ery man who sires a child bears the re­spon­si­bil­ity to raise that child. If he bails out, what good is he? End of dis­cus­sion.

Amer­ica’s rise to great­ness fea­tured the nu­clear fam­ily. Our nation’s salad days came when a man mar­ried one woman and worked one job, which paid the bills and al­lowed the wife to stay home and nur­ture chil­dren. The United States of Amer­ica be­came the most won­der­ful place to live on this earth.

It still is. At least to me. And one big rea­son is that most of us still have rea­son to cel­e­brate on Fa­ther’s Day.

And there’s a very spe­cial group of fa­thers out there: the ones called “Daddy.” They taught you to bait a hook, to skip flat stones across a fish pond. They knew how to pitch a tent and how to cook on a camp­fire. And they could pack a suit­case, and get ev­ery­thing in the car, way bet­ter than Mama.

“Daddy” is the guy who taught you how to throw and catch. He took you to base­ball games and taught you what to look for in any sit­u­a­tion. And he stood tall and un­mov­ing, with his hand over his heart, when­ever the Na­tional An­them was played.

Those re­ally spe­cial men known as “Daddy” could turn an or­di­nary thing into a mag­i­cal moment that lasts for­ever. He taught you to pour a pack of salted peanuts into an ice-cold bot­tle of Coca-Cola. He fixed any­thing from a bro­ken bi­cy­cle chain to a busted knee full of gravel. And he cooked burg­ers on a grill bet­ter’n any­body in the world.

“ Daddy’s” the guy whose lap you still want to sit in, whose shoul­der you long to rest your head on, and whose deep voice makes ev­ery­thing OK.

Yes, Fa­ther’s Day is spe­cial, and per­haps more poignant to folks whose fa­thers have passed away. Lyrics from “ Fi­nally Home,” a song by a con­tem­po­rary Chris­tian band called Mer­cyMe, ex­plain my hope of an even­tual re­union with Davis Gray Har­well Jr., who died in 1968.

“I’m gonna wrap my arms around my Daddy’s neck, and tell him that I’ve missed him; and tell him all about the man that I be­came, and hope that it pleased him. There’s so much I want to say, and so much I wanted him to know: when I fi­nally make it home.”

Here’s hop­ing that Fa­ther’s Day is spe­cial for all re­spon­si­ble fa­thers, and even more so for those called...“Daddy.”

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