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FATHER'S DAY: The Unthinkable Happened!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

You're probably wondering, why is this fool writing about Father's Day one day after the event has passed?  Most of us dad's with sons and daughters that have grown past those teen years find that as we get older, the cards and gifts that we get are more serious than the occassional necktie or wallet that we used to get.  In recent years, with kids ranging in ages from 19 to 30-something (who remembers) I have received gifts like hazard warning flares for when my car breaks down, an emergency transistor radio - like the first one I had when I was 13 years old - in case the power goes off, a gift certificate for a back massage, and another gift certificate for a ride in a new Corvette at a local race track.

If I want to ride in a Corvette, I'll call one of my motorhead friends or go the dealer and pretend I want to buy one, although after reading about the latest Vette, I could decide to buy one. 

But this year as I cross that invisible line in age where I can begin to get discounts for almost everything I no longer need, what did I get for Father's Day?

God love my kids.  Just because I call for one of my grandkids every once in while using my dog's name doesn't mean I'm old.  Does it?

Just because I keep score at the g-kids' soccer and baseball games while no one else does, doesn't mean I'm living in another world.  Does it?

Honest, I've never fed any of the kids dog bisquits nor have I booed at a soccer match or a baseball game.  I may have hissed at a referee or an umpire but that's what they're there for.  Right?

A friend told me that I should be grateful that my children don't want to lose me and I guess I should be thankful I didn't get a ball and chain for Father's Day.  But I did get the next worst thing.

Over the last several years I have bought GPS devices for my wife and daughters, none of whom have any idea where the sun sets or rises or in which direction to look for the North Star.  But I have never, ever, been tempted to purchase one for myself.  I have stated openly many times, I don't need some talking idiot on the dash telling me which way to go.  I'll figure it out myself, thank you, in the quiet of my being lost. 

Ah yes, being lost.  Have you ever noticed that your heart rate goes up a beat or two when you're lost in your car.  Have you ever noticed that one of the first things you do is turn the radio volume down or even off - it depends on what you're listening to, of course.  Suddenly, you begin reading road signs, concentrating and paying attention to what you're doing.

Hmmm?  All of the things you should have been doing all along suddenly take on new meaning.  You begin noticing the architecture of homes and other buildings, restaurants - you make a note, I'm coming back here sometime - toilet seat mueums and brands of gasoline you've never heard of. 

By now you have certainly guessed, those wonderful kids that I have loved, adored and cherished for all these years, the kids that I taught how to drive, how to fish, how to cook a steak on a campfire on a rainy evening and how to mark your trail in the woods - yes, those kids - bought me a GPS for Father's Day. 

None of them would take individual responsibility for it.  One of them is a coward.  The card was signed by all of them, including the g-kids and if you could have seen them standing there like it was Christmas with these questionmark smirks on their faces, all of them not sure if they should be ready to take the next breath, run, laugh, or hide. 

I have this terrible habit of guessing what's in a wrapped gift box before I open it.  Drives some people crazy.  I knew what this was the moment I picked it up.  It looked like a GPS box.  It weighed about the same as a GPS...but I said to myself, "Let's not ruin their fun."  So I guessed that it was a travel alarm and everyone laughed.  A Smart phone?  More laughs.  A necklace?  Now they really laughed. 

I acted very appreciative, thanked them all.  When I left, I stuffed it in the trunk with some leftover sandwiches and driving home - about a 30-mile drive - I purposely turned left onto a road I had never been on before.  The sun was setting as I crested a hill with colors ranging from bright red to deep purple and even yellow in the late-day sky as an Amish family made their way home - hurriedly - in their horse and buggy.  It was a pretty site and a nice way to end Father's Day. 

As for the GPS, it turns out that it was an excellent gift.  I never would have made that left turn onto a strange road and found the picturesque sunset, had the GPS not been in the trunk.


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