A Man for All Seasons: A Father’s Day Tribute

Jun 16, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Terrific Tales

by Gail Farrelly

Gail has shared many fun stories with KRL and we are happy she is helping us celebrate Father’s Day with this Father’s Day salute. There is a coupon for Valentino’s Italian Restaurant at the end of this story you can use to take dad out for a special meal. The photo we used for this article is of my own father who passed away last August–the best dad ever!

Spokane, Washington was the site of the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. It was the brainchild of Mrs. John B. Dodd, whose mother had died giving birth to her. Mrs. Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who had raised her and her five siblings on a rural farm in eastern Washington. The concept of a national Father’s Day was supported by President Coolidge in 1924; then in 1966 President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Lovely! After all, Mrs. Dodd wasn’t the only one with a fabulous Dad.

Nancy, Leon & Lorie Lewis in 1966

Geoffrey Holder once said, “Every family has its own rhythm, and if you dance with your children, that rhythm will become a part of them, and they will never forget it.” My father, James J. Farrelly, wasn’t a dancer (he left that up to my mom); but in his own way, he provided a wonderful “rhythm” to our family. Banker by day and banking teacher by night, he somehow also found the patience, energy, and sense of humor to do that.

I’ve said my father was patient. Well most of the time he was. Until he taught me to drive, that is. On the day of the first lesson I confidently settled myself in the driver’s seat, my poor father sitting next to me. “Start ‘er up,” he ordered. Uh, oh. “How? Where?” was my answer. I had no idea where the key went! Not an auspicious beginning. With a grunt and a sigh of disgust, he showed me not only how to start ‘er up but so much more. My progress as a student driver was not especially impressive; and my father was not one to go overboard with encouragement. But one day my mom happened to say to me, “Your father tells me your driving is really coming along.” I was shocked but pleased. Maybe the situation wasn’t hopeless! From that day on, like Ed Koch, I was constantly asking, “How am I doing?” But I always asked my mother, who shared with me my dad’s evaluation. Sort of like hearsay evidence, the admissible kind.

Robert Frost once said, “You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s. He’s more particular.” Interesting. Could apply to praise and encouragement too, right? Anyway, lucky for me that I had a mom and a dad who were synergistic in their parenting skills. By the way, thanks to my dad’s ability as a teacher and my mom’s encouragement, I passed my driver’s test on the first try.

A terrific sense of humor was one of the things I liked best about my dad. Rewind the memory bank to an ice-cold blustery February day. We went for a walk and were stopped by a nosey neighbor. Pointing to my father’s bare head, he inquired, “Where’s your hat, Jim?” Without missing a beat, my dad responded, “I’m saving it for Easter.” End of conversation.

My father was a person of top-notch intelligence. I think of him whenever I hear something new about the problems which have plagued the financial community of late. I’m sure the outright stupidity of the players would appall him.

With each passing Father’s Day, I realize more fully that my father’s example and sacrifice enabled me and my siblings to achieve so many of our dreams. I hope that we, in some small way, returned the favor. We try to do that by remembering him always. Phil Coulter says it best in song: “I never will forget him for he made me what I am. Though he may be gone, memory lingers on.” And on!

Use this coupon for Valentino’s Italian Restaurant to treat dad to a special meal for Father’s Day!

Gail Farrelly writes mystery novels and short stories. She also publishes satire pieces at http://www.thespoof.com/ and at The Westchester Guardian. Her next book, LOL: 100 Comic Cameos on Current Events will be published later this year. Gail’s latest short story, “The Christmas Exception,” is available for sale at Untreed Reads, on the Kindle, and at other e-book retailers.


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