It's Father's Day! A holiday of less importance than Mother's Day. Here in Panamá Mother's Day is a national holiday, while Father's Day is a Hallmark Holiday, just like back in the U.S. The ECW of San Cristóbal will make a big deal with a program this afternoon, and the youth will recite poems and sing songs at the end of the Mass this morning. And Padre Cáceres and I wlll get lovely gifts from the congregation (the members of the ECW make our clerical shirts and albs!).
Mona and I are fortunate as both our fathers are still with us, so we will call them tonight after the ECW program. Both of our fathers are good men and wonderful fathers. My dad and I would try to do the traditional father-son stuff, but neither of us are very traditional. I remember once on Okinawa when my dad bought us both fishing poles. We went fishing in Makiminato (just below the Episcopal Church where Edmond Browning was first consecrated bishop) and tried to fish. Well, we are not pescadores, and all I remember is pulling up a tire and a crab cutting the line on dad's pole. Even if we had caught anything, mom would have refused to cook it, so it was just as well. But at least we tried to do the traditional American father-son thing. I always felt bad for my dad because, since he was a missionary, he was expected to pray at every dang Boy Scout function he ever attended. I understand why he often had something else to do! Mona's dad, Neil, is a great guy, too, and was a faithful member of Indian Guides and Rainbow Girls with her. I've always liked Neil because, just before the wedding, when members of my family were threatening my life (my own Grandfather said, "If you do anything to hurt that girl, I'll hunt you down") Neil said, "Does he know what he's getting in to?" And our fathers like each other, so that makes life easier.
My daughters will have to report on what it is like to have me as a father. I tried, but I may have been different than other dads. I use to give the girls Rock History lessons on Saturdays. I remember going with Tara and her first grade class on a field trip to Happy Hollow Park in San José, California. Her classmates would keep running up to me and staring, and then run away. I finally asked Tara what was going on. She said, "Maybe they've never seen a dad with an earring before!" I also remember attending a Father-Daughter dance at St. Francis' Episcopal Church in San José, when Anne was a member of the Girl Scout troop there (well, we were also members of the parish). It was a 1950's party. I thought, "Sheesh, I was a baby in the 1950's and I'm not a fan of that stuff." We decided to come as Beatniks, while every one else was in poodle skirts and t-shirts and jeans. We had a great time freaking everyone else out!
I know that some folks have less than positive memories of their dads, and that affects their understanding of God as father. But I think that Joseph must have been a great dad, since Jesus had such a positive understanding of the name "father."
So, Happy Father's Day to Jim Dresbach and Neil Neimoyer, and my brother James Dresbach (a very dedicated and wonderful father; he puts me to shame all the time). You are all great fathers and I am proud to know you!
Picture 1. Miguelito: Papí, won't we get in trouble for drawing on the wall?
Dad: I'm the Father, and it's Father's Day. Who is going to give me trouble for drawing on the wall today? Your Mom? ¡¡¡¡Por Favor!!!!
Picture 2. These are all things my daughters gave me for Father's Day in years past. I've received bow-ties (which I can actually tie, which puts me above the majority of you losers) AND a pipe (they stood next to my while I was smoking it, saying "Gee, Dad, that smells good!" driving the Lovely Mona crazy! Don't worry, I don't smoke anymore (except in my dreams). I've received a watch, too, but I like it when they buy me a fine single-malt scotch whisky, which, I realize, also puts me in the Bad Dad column.
¡Feliz Día de Padre!