Biologically speaking, almost all red-blooded males can become a father. A greeting card my daughter Christina gave me for Father's Day a few years ago stated, “It takes someone special to be a daddy.”
Biologically speaking, almost all red-blooded males can become a father. A greeting card my daughter Christina gave me for Father’s Day a few years ago stated, “It takes someone special to be a daddy.”
I haven’t written a Father’s Day tribute in a couple of years now. Last summer I went under the knife and had both knees replaced. I am grateful to the Good Lord, my loved ones and others who watched over me and I am truly thankful for where I am today. When I sat down to write this week’s installment of Random Thoughts my thoughts drifted in several different directions.
Originally, I intended to write a piece on TV’s 20 most influential dads but I couldn’t come up with a list that most of my readers could identify with today. However, before I am through with my ramblings I will name whom I believe was Hollywood’s best representative of what a dad should be. I also thought about writing about a special remembrance of my dad. I also will touch on him as this essay progresses.
What I really want to focus on is fatherhood through the viewpoint of a child. That phrase, “It takes someone special to be a daddy keeps going through my mind – over and over again. To father a child means to help bring a new life into this world. It’s what you do with that child between birth and adulthood that makes a man a daddy.
My dad was a true daddy in every since of the word. He was 41 years old the day that I was born; so by the time I was of age to bat and throw a baseball he was already suffering from the pains of arthritis. I had a wonderful big brother who stepped in to help fill that void.
However, my dad was my buddy. Before I was school age he took me with him to pay the bills. The final stop was usually Kramer’s Café or Massengil’s Drug Store for a cold soft drink. He was usually greeted by his friends who asked, “Claude, who’s your helper?” He would smile and proudly respond, “Oh that’s my buddy.”
Dad always seemed to know what I liked. When I came home for lunch from school on Tuesday there would always be a comic book of one of my favorite TV shows ranging from “The Rifleman” to “Sea Hunt” to “Zorro” lying on top of the TV. As I grew older he pretended to not like my music but occasionally would ask why don’t you put on Three Dog Night or ABBA. He also thought I didn’t see him tapping his foot when I played Chicago.
We were baseball soul mates. My passion for the St. Louis Cardinals comes directly from Dad’s influence. Together, we watched countless games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and he was my biggest fan when I tried my hand at playing Little League baseball. He even used some of his vacation days to attend my games. On more than one occasion I thought about quitting but without that tough macho approach that men don’t quit, he gently and quietly encouraged me. He made it my decision to keep playing.
I think Dad was the most proud of me for deciding to go into journalism. He was an avid reader and I think he truly respected and admired me for becoming a writer. I don’t think I’ve disappointed him.
The TV character that is the best example of what a true dad is goes to John Walton of “The Walton’s.” John lived for his family. He loved his work in the sawmill because it provided for his family. He was never too busy that he wouldn’t stop and listen to his children – all seven. He was also always willing to fight for them if that’s what it took. Encouragement also was one of John Walton’s strongest virtues.
I was impressed that series creator Earl Hamner, on whose life the series was based, unashamedly used the term ‘daddy’ as the name of love his children placed on him. What an honor.
Over the years fatherhood has taken a beating with stories of deadbeat dads who literally run away from their responsibilities and leave a woman on her own to raise the children. He is truly a father only in the biological sense of the term.
If we want to really pay tribute and honor to the men who love their family and children, maybe we should change the name of the special day we recognize each June from Father’s Day to Daddy’s Day.
I’d rather be a daddy than just a father any day of the week. I hope and pray that I have been a true “daddy” to my two wonderful children, whom I love with all of my heart and soul.