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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Father’s Day



By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

daughter of the Old-Timer




**********

There is a great deal of attention, and rightly so, paid to Mothers. After all, it is the Mother who carries each of us to birth, and a great deal of sentiment is connected to motherhood. But we are poised to celebrate Father’s Day, and this role is critically important, too.

In some families the Father has the role of disciplinarian and standard enforcer. But fathers are more critically important as teachers, role models, and protectors. A billboard in Tulsa, where I live, says “Treat all women with respect. Your son is watching.” An apt comment about the role a father plays in influencing children.

When I think of my father I remember the after-work fun and weekend activities. My father was capable of some unconventional thinking, and we were all the better for it. While some neighborhood children were scolded not to climb trees, because they’d “fall and break their necks,” my father was the first one UP the tree and we all followed. We frequently swam in “unofficial” swimming places, and learned the art of risk assessment and taking responsibility for ourselves from it. Most of the things we did with our father didn’t cost money - but we loved the trips to parks, the building of homemade toys, and ice skating on the frozen drainage ditch. We were all taught how to build and tend campfires, “swing” Tagalders, and drive a stick shift.

We were towed on snowpans behind our VW bug on the frozen bay flats, “whipped” green apples using a flexible stick with one sharpened end, and made rubber band guns using pieces of wood, nails, a clothespin and sliced up inner tubes bought at the close-by auto salvage for pennies. Unlike a toy bought at a store, we never tired of our homemade entertainments.

Let us celebrate the role of Fathers, and try to fill that void for children growing up without a father by their side.

My favorite story about my paternal Grandfather was that he told a lie. My father returned home with wet feet after being told not to come home in that condition again. My Grandfather felt his soaking wet feet and told my Grandmother, “yes, his feet are dry,” earning my Father’s enduring gratitude. The lesson learned was compassion and trust.

Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers, but especially my own Father, from his children - Janie, Laura, Albert and Amy, children by marriage Heather and Mike and the grandchildren: Andrew, Aaron, Angela and Sam and wife Rachel.


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