Sir, Father, Dad, Pop, Papa, Pa or any number of loving nicknames; later in life, he may be referred to by his first name. Regardless of the name he will always be remembered.
My Father has long ago passed away. I still miss him, even though we rarely saw eye to eye on many topics. His greatest gift to me was in choosing to be a father. His ways were strict, as he grew up in a much more restrictive society than that in which I was reared. After all, my formative years were the 50s and 60s. He was tough, but he taught me to be an honest, hardworking man with a sense of loyalty and duty to the community and respect for others. Fairness was a byword in our home and generosity was not something to be avoided but rather a means of giving back to the community.
He never showed me how to fly a kite; throw a ball; ride a bike. But he did show me how to pick myself up after I fell; how to ask a girl on a date; how to waltz; and, how to compete. He wasn’t a sports fan until later in his life but he did teach me how to swim, fish, row a boat and how to golf. He taught me to laugh at myself before I laughed at others. Above all else he taught me to be true to myself.
Dad loved us all and his strength of character and devotion to our Mother were beacons lighting the path we should follow. When it came time to strike out on our own his support gave us the encouragement to leave the nest. Later along the road of life he demonstrated his love by being there to provide his wisdom. He used to talk of the struggles his parents went through in the early part of the last century and then how he and my Mother made tough decisions throughout their loving marriage of 58 years. These stories were always received with a sense of wonder and amazement as we learned of the sacrifices he had made for his family – for us.
In a way that is what being a Father is all about – sacrifices; not necessarily forced on men but chosen, elected, in order to provide a better home life for the family. Its hard to imagine the thought process a father goes through in deciding to lead his family halfway around the world to settle thousands of kilometres from their birthplace – and all for the love and desire of a better life. That’s the same story virtually every family can recount.
The Rotary Club of Chestermere has organized an Ultimate Fathers’ Day BBQ to take place at Camp Chestermere from 11 AM to 2 PM. Music, food, boat rides, motorcycles, hot air balloon rides, kids games and a silent auction. I’ll remember my Father all day long by being with my grandkids. See you there.