I was one of several old dudes mugging for a selfie last Saturday afternoon. We took the photo in the midst of collectively trying to cook some 200 chicken quarters on a gigantic grill. It was part of a fundraising activity.
This group was made up of advice givers, move-the-meat-on-the-grill-to-make-it-appear-you-know-what-you’re-doing-guys, a we-need-more-seasoning-guy (me), and so on.
Over the course of five hours, I managed to fit all of those categories and more. All of us are high school and neighborhood friends who know each other all too well. We were having a great time.
While we all have different and some quirky personalities, we have something in common. We are all fathers, and some are grandfathers. As one of the guys said, “We are now the Paw-Paws we used to talk about when we were young.” We laughed — but not too much — at that comment.
I was sitting under the carport with the fellas a few weeks ago when I surprised them by ann…
We reflected on growing up “back in the day” and how we were raised, some under very tough circumstances.
Then, for some reason, I thought about my son and the fact that he will be a father for the first time in a few days. I think he is prepared.
Daniel is an engineer, so he thinks things out to the nth degree. Sometimes, I think he overthinks stuff. But then, I sometimes call him for advice on mechanical stuff or before I purchase an electronic gadget. I appreciate his thought process.
My son is a caring young man who goes out of his way to help people. He is very opinionated and less likely than most to back down in the middle of a debate, even with me. (I wonder where he got that from?)
I wonder what kind of father he will be. He and his wife, Lindsey, are having a girl. I hope over the course of his life he has learned some good stuff from me. Well, from his mom, too, but this column is about me and him.
While I was not perfect, I don’t think I’ve been that bad, either. I guess most fathers hope for, at the least, that “not that bad” description.
“You know, our children don’t hate until we tell them to hate,” said Ann Linton, the mother …
It will be interesting to see if he adopts my “You can’t talk back to your parents when they are disciplining you” position that I had. He wandered a couple times into the badlands on that and paid the price for it.
Will he be as patient with his daughter as I was with him when he would take at least 45 minutes to select one addition to his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection? (See the overthinking.)
How will he handle it if, like him, his daughter demands that he tell her stories “out of your mouth” (translation: make it up) as she falls asleep? And, will he get to laugh to himself when, right before she goes off to sleep, she questions him by saying “No, you said the boy had a red bike.”
Or, how will he respond if his daughter, knowing that her second-grade teacher has spilled the beans on her class behavior, answers his question, “Tell me what happened,” with “how much do you already know?”
And, how will he deal with getting a call from the after-school care facility from a frantic administrator who asks him to tell his daughter over the phone to release another child from a headlock?
How will he respond if he finds out his daughter has been fighting every day for a week with other girls who don’t like the way she talks, but she refuses to leave? And, will he laugh when he comes to that same place the next week to find out that she and those same girls are laughing and playing together?
And, what will he do when his daughter doesn’t tell him that his high school debate teammate came so close to winning the championship trophy or that she has won an academic prize but wouldn’t tell her parents?
What will he do when he takes his daughter over 600 miles to her first big job, drops her off in an apartment, and she says “I Love you” as he leaves? How will he deal with that?
Wait, I’m getting way ahead of myself. I hope on this Father’s Day that I have been a decent enough role model for my son.
Next year this time, he will be celebrating his first Father’s Day. I hope he has a great time with his daughter and that, for a brief second, he might think that he learned a little something about fatherhood from his old man.
Anyone who knows much about me is keenly aware of how much I love my alma mater, McKinley Hi…