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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

TITLE: Father Of The Year
By dub W


Sometime in June, the local newspaper will announce the “father of the year.” A dubious honor bestowed upon a man who has been nominated by his family. I have no idea who the judges are, or what qualifications are needed to judge the fatherhood of any other man. For the record, I have never been nominated. Probably my abhorrence for such trivial nonsense was a clue to my offspring not to nominate me.

For all intensive purposes, I was a horrible father. I traveled. Often I was gone for thirty days at a time. Sometimes my family did not know where I had traveled to, nor (in my wife’s words) did they want to know. Oh, I occasionally flew my family to wherever I might be, but for the most part, when our sons were asked what their father did for a living, they just replied, “he travels.” During the 1990's one rather pushy person insisted that my sixth grade son put a “father" occupation,” down on a form. My son asked me what to write. I told him to put down “registered pond scum.” He did. So, today, somewhere in the records of an organization in North Atlanta, they now have an occupational listing for “registered pond scum.”

Last year’s pictures of the “father of the year,” showed a muscular man on a jet ski. I took my oldest son to Promise Keepers – hmmm, guess we missed some of the recreational opportunities. Year before last featured a man with three generations of college graduates. Well, I sat with all my kids in confirmation class and was with them at their Baptisms. Only one has graduated from college, so far. Two others attend sporadically as their jobs allow. My multigenerational pictures today are of me babysitting my grandchildren. Not a mortarboard in sight.

One of last year’s nominees sent in pictures of his daughter holding up the head of a six point buck. I never had a daughter, but I doubt if I did, that I would have taken her hunting. In 1969, I packed all of my hunting weapons in heavy oil, locked them in the gun cabinet, and lost the key on purpose. I have nothing against hunters; it’s just not my thing. My sons don’t hunt either, although they all have fired rifles in target ranges. So much for being a macho father, guess I didn’t cut it.

Another nominee for the “father of the year” was pictured in a father/son business. He was handing the keys over to his adult son. I could never do that. I spent all my money helping with down payments on my son’s homes, and an occasional “dad” loan or two. Two sons and I bought a restaurant once, a wonderful boutique pizza place. Unfortunately, a major discount pizza restaurant opened nearby and we quickly lost everything and were forced to close. I lost 150 grand in the deal.

A few years ago a man, who I greatly admired, was given the award. I went to the banquet. There were many speeches in his honor. I actually felt honored because I knew him as a friend, he was a great father. There will be no banquets for me. The closest things we have are family dinners with our sons gathered round. Of course now we have added eight grandchildren to the audience plus assorted mothers. When we go to church together we occupy a whole section. Now, with everyone scattered, with just those local relatives, we take up a whole pew. Church dinners with the family are a blast – I guess I did get an award one Wednesday evening – everyone sang happy birthday to me.

Like I said, I’m not much of a father. I’ll never be “father of the year;” however, my three sons never got into drugs, never spent time in detention, and never hung with the crowd who caused a lot of trouble – just good kids who love the Lord. One son now works for his father-n-law in a steel construction company, another son is a mediator with a social services agency, and the other son is a manager in a major corporation. I guess, sometimes even we guys who are pond scum and failures as fathers get by with a little help.

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This article has been read 748 times
Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 04/17/08
Lol! This made me chuckle at the dry humor in here. I wanted to give this Dad a high-five and tell him that he's a great father. That last paragraph was a keeper, I loved it! A father of the year award is sometimes passed out-but the real heros are often those unsung. I liked this-and especially the part about hunting...very nicely done! ^_^
Liz Hoyt Eberle04/18/08
Love this piece. Big lesson here - for moms/grandmas, also. Well written; held my interest; good ending.
Janice Cartwright04/18/08
My sentiments exactly. The true heroes in my book are the unsung ones. The ordinary guy who gets out of bed every morning and goes to work in this world? That takes courage.
Dee Yoder 04/21/08
I wholeheartedly agree with the previous posts: you are your sons' father of the year-every day. My own dad worked hard, did his job, played with his kids, and never won an award in his life (besides his bowling and horseshoe pitching trophies-ha!), but he's a hero through and through to me. There's wry humor and just-under-the-surface sentiment in this piece that's endearing and honest.
Mandy White04/21/08
Everyone can learn from this.
That's the kind of dad that gets my vote!
Holly Westefeld04/21/08
I enjoyed your rye approach to the examination of what is truly important about fatherhood.
Jan Ackerson 04/21/08
Wonderful, Dub--I love the ironic tone. I'm a big fan of irony, and it's not easy to write it well.

Note: "For all intensive purposes" should be "For all intents and purposes."
Joanney Uthe04/21/08
I love the voice of this very well-deserving father. The subtle contrasts between what the nominees did and your life were wonderful -- Promise Keepers vs recreation.
Joshua Janoski04/22/08
Loved the story dub. You always add a nice bit of humor to your writings.

This reminded me a lot of my dad. He never did a lot of wild and crazy things with me, but he did raise me right, and that is worth so much more to me than jetskiing or hunting.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. :)
Shirley McClay 04/23/08
When I read this story earlier in the week, I had a feeling it was you, Dub. It totally sounds like you and your humor and personality. I love it! Very down to earth, realistic, honest, and FUN!
Joy Faire Stewart04/23/08
Love the humor and there's a lot of wisdom in the writing.
Sheri Gordon04/23/08
Very good voice. The reflections of this father really work. Nice job with the topic.