Happy Father’s Day, Fathers!

The minutes in this year’s Father Day are dwindling down, and it’s been a wonderfully full one for me.

The celebration began yesterday, when Aidan, Jon and I went to Manny’s, an authentic New York deli on Roosevelt, ate large, if not massive, quantities meat, and came home to nap.

I did have to work today, and I read during my cruise through Google Reader a piece a father in the grips of Alzheimer’s called “Cherished Moments that Dad will forget,” an article about President Obama’s saying that being a father is his hardest and most rewarding job, a Washington Post column by Joel Achenbach explaining that Father’s Day is the one manufactured holiday he actually enjoys celebrating, and an essay about the environmental legacy we are leaving our children.

Each of these articles caught my attention and reminded me of the day. Treating myself to lunch and a Grande Mocha frappuccino, double blended with whipped cream of course, was fun, too.

But the biggest treat came when I returned home.

Aidan had gone to Dominick’s and bought us a couple of steaks that we threw on the grill, along with a host of red and yellow peppers, asparagus and mushrooms left over from his graduation party. After our Father’s Day feast at Manny’s yesterday, we decided that this summer, his last in our home, will be the summer of grilling.

The air was perfectly clean and clear and the sky was cloudless. We chatted quietly about where his friends are before shooting a few hoops, cooking the food and watching the first episode of Treme, David Simon’s paean to post-Katrina New Orleans.

We didn’t talk much, but enough to know that we both had enjoyed what we saw and were looking forward to sharing the next episode. We called my dad and talked briefly to him before Aidan did battle with the online financial aid information at Tulane.

Dunreith chipped in, as she always does, with photo albums of her brothers, Dad, me and her father Marty.

She felt Marty’s absence today, and I did, too. I remember vividly how good it felt when he and I exchanged well wishes in 2001 on the first Father’s Day after Dunreith and I got eloped. He had been in the role for more than four decades, and was helping me grow into my place with his customary grace and generosity.

Being a father is, as our president said, a hard thing to do, and I am often aware when I am making mistakes of one sort or another.

And there are moments like today, when I remember talking with Marty and thank Helen for having Dunreith and swap greetings with my dad and share a meal with my son, who is a young man I am proud to know and have helped raise, when I feel grateful and gratified in a deep-down way that was hard to imagine and may be harder to explain, but I think other dads will recognize when they read this.

Happy Father’s Day, Fathers. I hope yours was rich with love and joy and connection and laughter.

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2 responses to “Happy Father’s Day, Fathers!

  1. My daughter and son asked me how I would like to celebrate Father’s Day, knowing I would say just plant me anywhere on the lakefront and I am a happy chap. And so we strolled down to the lakefront after a lovely meal of lox, bagels and plenty of prosciutto! The lakefront being a rather dangerous place, I was escorted by two brave warriors (age 5 and 7), carrying their bows and sponge-tipped arrows, as well as their walkie-talkies in the event of a need for a rapid response rescue.

    As is often the case, there was a vigorous volleyball game in process, and the typical guess at the ethnic origins of the participants. This particular game was clearly Middle Eastern of some kind. Iraqi, Turkish, Iranian, or perhaps Gypsies? It was particularly interesting to see two tall, thin young Euro teenage girls leaping five feet in the air at the service line, zipping in mean looking serves to all male opponents. You are not going to see that in Saudi Arabia I whispered to my daughter.

    Meanwhile, my warrior escorts had attracted the attention of several other young warriors interested in checking out the arrows and walkie-talkies. I was pleased to see my grandsons managing the recruits with steady hands and nerve: The 5 year old in charge of communication training and the eldest warrior pointing out the fine art of archery. They occasionally brought in my son, the Uncle, for advise.

    My daughter and I continued our ethnic guessing game, as it became more interesting noting the traditional clothes worn by the Mom’s of the young warrior recruits. Finally Liz asked one young girl (maybe 8 years old) where she was from. “Afghanistan,” she says, taking our breath away a bit. ” We can’t go back home because it is not safe there. My Dad’s dad was killed there.”

    And so a large Afghani family played volleyball, shot bows and arrows, learned about walkie-talkies, rode bicycles and their little children told stories to affluent americans about their “home.”

    It was a good day, and yes, images of kite flying filled my head.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      A beautiful story, Jack. We must be in some kind of synch since Aidan, Jon and I went to Manny’s on Saturday, mentioning you by name while there, as part of the Father’s Day celebration since I had to work on Saturday. In typical male lion fashion, we ate a lot of met and then lay down for a rest!

      Let’s get together soon.

      Jeff

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