Today I was at the shopping mall and I spent a lot of time reading the Father’s Day cards. They all had a special message that in some way or another reflected how I feel about you. Yet as I selected and read, and selected and read again, it occurred to me that not a single card said what I really want to say to you.
You’ll soon be 84 years old, Dad, and you and I will have had 55 Father’s Days together. I haven’t always been with you on Father’s Day nor have I been with you for all of your birthdays. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be with you. I’ve always been with you in my heart but sometimes life gets in the way.
You know, Dad, there was a time when we were not only separated by the generation gap but completely polarized by it. You stood on one side of the Great Divide and I on the other, father and daughter split apart by age and experience, opinions, hairstyles, cosmetics, clothing, curfews, music, and boys.
The Father-Daughter Duel of ’54 shifted into high gear when you taught me to drive the old Dodge and I decided I would drive the ‘54 Chevy whether you liked it or not. The police officer who escorted me home after you reported the Chevy stolen late one evening was too young to understand father-daughter politics and too old to have much tolerance for a snotty 16 year old. You were so decent about it, Dad, and I think that was probably what made it the worst night of my life.
Our relationship improved immensely when I married a man you liked, and things really turned around when we begin making babies right and left. We didn’t have a television set, you know, and we had to entertain ourselves somehow. I didn’t know what to expect of you and Mom as grandparents but I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Those babies adored you then just as they adore you now. When I see you with all your grandchildren, I know you’ve given them the finest gift a grandparent can give. You’ve given them yourself.
Somewhere along the line, the generation gap evaporated. Age separates us now and little else. We agree on most everything, perhaps because we’ve learned there isn’t much worth disagreeing about. However, I would like to mention that fly fishing isn’t all you’ve cracked it up to be, Dad. You can say what you want about wrist action and stance and blah, blah, blah
I’ve been happily drifting for a lot of years, Dad, and I didn’t see you getting older.