Absentee father’s day.

Does Father’s Day exist if no father is in the house to be served breakfast in bed? You tell me. Alan spent the last week cutting grass, trimming hedges, selecting annuals, planting said annuals, driving to four different places to see if anyone had tomato plants left so we could at least try to get a few of our own even though it’s way late to be planting them, planting said tomato plants, repotting the rosemary, whipping the herb garden into shape, and am I forgetting anything?

Oh yeah — he did some plumbing, too. On Saturday I came home from work and he said, “I want to paddle my kayak. Let’s go to the lake.” I said, “I don’t really want to, and Kate’s playing with her friends so she won’t want to go, either. You go on ahead.” So he did, and didn’t come home until Sunday night. Was this an appropriate honor for a hard-working father? I say yes. I say a dad who works hard deserves a 36-hour solo holiday, and that’s the way it is in our house. You gotta problem with that?

Actually, I’ve known couples for whom such behavior would be grounds for divorce — no, has actually been grounds for divorce. I once knew someone who was said to file for the Big D because her husband failed to buy her a Mother’s Day card — the nerve!

“I don’t get it,” I said when I heard this. “She isn’t his mother.”

“But they have a baby,” I was told. “And so it was his responsibiity to buy the Mother’s Day card on behalf of the baby.”


“How is Alan celebrating Father’s Day?” my neighbor asked today.

“Hell if I know,” I replied. A healthy relationship leaves both parties room to grow and change.

So that was Dad’s Special Day.

Note, above, that I was talking to my neighbor. That’s another sign that I’m home. Weeks passed in Ann Arbor without exchanging more than a nod with our neighbors, but you can’t say that about Oakdale, where we’re on cup-of-sugar terms with our neighbors at all four compass points and then some. Two have keys to my house. One helped us get our water turned back on when the valve siezed up. One cuts Kate’s hair. On weekends, when the kids are running from house to house, we walk in and out of one another’s living rooms as though it were a commune. If someone’s out on the porch with a beer, you stop. (This is a good way to get a free beer.) My neighborhood may have its rough elements, people still drive too fast through it, we still have idiots who keep pit bulls, but it’s the friendliest place I’ve ever lived, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

It occurs to me this entry has passed without a single link. Sorry. It was a beautiful day. Oh, wait: As long as we’re talking about neighbors, here’s the obit for our late neighbor Chuck, one of the best. Four Purple Hearts. Could he ever tell stories.

Posted at 11:55 pm in Uncategorized |

3 responses to “Absentee father’s day.”

  1. Dick Walker said on June 21, 2004 at 7:17 am

    I was intrigued to note that Chuck is said to have had “an extensive cabal of friends.” There must have been some really good stories he couldn’t tell, too.

    Wonder whether anyone’s ever collected slightly skewed obits for publication?


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  2. danno said on June 22, 2004 at 11:22 am

    I can remember sitting on our porch in old West Central w/ Chuck and Steve Purdy (my old landlord and another West Centralite gone) and the stories between the two of them were priceless!!

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  3. RussBennett said on June 22, 2004 at 3:29 pm

    For Dick Walker, wonder no more! For an excellent collection of masterful obits get “52 McGs.” (Scribner,2001). 52 obits by Robert McG. Thomas, legendary obit writer for the New York Times. McG. could really capture a life – both the well-known and obscure – in 750 words or less.

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