Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I was raised to dismiss Father's Day as a faux holiday; a conspiracy between haberdashers and Hallmark; something to be derided if not ignored.

This did not spare Bernie F.X. Gould of blessed memory from receiving a new necktie every year throughout the '50s and '60s. Now, I realize he would probably have much preferred a new ribbon for his circa 1935 Royal typewriter and a carton of Camel unfiltered cigarettes.

We stopped bestowing unwanted neckties and viyella shirts upon him during the '80s. By then, my father had upgraded beyond an IBM Selectric to a personal computer. It was huge and absolutely not portable. For any Father's Day we capitulated to noting, Daddy would probably have wanted floppy disks and a carton of Benson & Hedges cigarettes, the brand he started smoking as a health gesture.

My father died in 1998 at age 86 of -- no surprise -- emphysema and congestive heart failure. I inherited the Royal typewriter and tossed out the many cartons of cigarettes he had stashed throughout his home office.

This morning, I watched fathers of all ages stand up to receive a special benediction at the end of Mass and then make their way up the nave to receive a carnation. I experienced this as a sweet corrective to my family's view of Father's Day. Still, I could easily imagine how my father, if he were alive today, would probably have wanted to make a hasty exit so he could futz with his Blackberry and smoke.


  1. Ha - wanted to add that my own hubby, when faced with the prospect of adding to the "sacrifice" of the Mass by going to the potluck kindly offered by the Catholic WOmen group at our parish, begged off, and went and hid in his office reading Aidan Nichols the rest of the day.

    Shees. All they wanted to do was feed him ham-n-eggs! (wink)

  2. No carnations, eh? I got a cheap thrill out of noticing that many of the carnations were pink instead of what would've been liturgically incorrect red or manly-man brown.

    Do live carnations come in brown? My father would've loved tobacco colored flowers.


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