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Every Father’s Day for the last 40-odd years (ever since I moved out of the house) I would call my dad on Father’s Day and wish him a happy Father’s Day; even when we both still lived in Ann Arbor and I was going over later in the day to see him. Over the last few years he would try to call me first to wish me a happy Father’s Day; ater all, I had three sons, and dad thought I had done a great job raising them. We might chat a while about how things were going, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s when I was in Texas and he was in Michigan and long distance charges were a thing.
Since 2002, when I moved back to the Houston area from Palestine, TX and cell phones and national plans made long-distance charges obsolete, I called him every Saturday morning and we reviewed the events of the week. Not the big national events. The small ones in our lives and the lives of our family.
This year I cannot make that call. Dad died June 2, eight days before his 94th birthday.
Nor do I make that Saturday-morning call. I talked to mom on other occasions.
I did not miss making that Saturday-morning call last week, but yesterday it struck me what I had lost. Later that day I had a book signing. Telling my dad about it would have delighted him. Calling up anyone else and telling them about it would have seemed like bragging. I really missed not being able to talk with him.
The signing was a small thing, an event in Costco for a book I wrote two years ago, yet he would have been proud of me about it. Costco picked the book (The Battleship Texas) because it made a good Father’s Day gift, something he would have appreciated. I signed 30 copies. I suspect what I get in royalties will not equal my costs in gasoline and tolls, but I did it anyway, and enjoyed doing it. And I regret not being able to share that with my dad.
It does not matter whether you are six or 60; a child wants a father’s approval. It was true with me; it is true with my sons. They called me today to wish me a happy Father’s Day, and tell me what is happening in their lives. One son will be stopping by. He lives in Houston (the other two are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) and stopping by that is what you do on Father’s Day.
Dad, I miss you. I wish I could call. Happy Father’s Day.Published in