Fathers’ Day is a bit of a sore spot for me, for a couple of reasons.
One: My relationship with my father is less than perfect. Less than less than perfect, actually. Much better than it used to be, but even today we have very little in common. But as time has passed, I have come to better appreciate what my Dad did for my sibs and my Mom.
My father came from true poverty. Not today’s notion of ghetto/trailer park “Oh, we can’t afford HBO” poverty, but true, “We seriously, no-kidding have NO FOOD” poverty. Due to the circumstances of his economic background, he started out illiterate. The Texas education system of the time was happy to pass him along, so long as he could play football. Only my Mom’s tutoring led him to the literacy that would give him to tools to earn a GED later in life.
He and I had our differences over the years. Many of the things he taught me to believe did not serve me well out in the real world. He was not a good teacher (in the sense of teaching, the skill). So even today, now that we have come to a sort of peace, I do not enjoy the kind of relationship with my father you’re “supposed” to have.
But if I am to judge my father fairly, I must appreciate the full context of what he did and why. My Dad overcame poverty and illiteracy to ensure his children would have the tools to live a better life than he did. And he succeeded. He could have been a drunk, but he wasn’t. He treated my Mom like a queen. And when the chips were down, he was always on my side. The man did the best he could with what life had given him. And I must acknowledge that.
Two: I envy fathers. And I’m gradually losing hope of ever being one. I do not consider fatherhood some divinely ordained religious duty on my part. It’s just a timeless and primal aspect of the adult human experience, one that I have missed out on, because I played my cards wrong and now pay the price for it.
All that said, a good Father is something to be admired and respected. I am told (and agree) it is a vanishing Art, a calling that is essential to Manhood and bringing out the highest and best the emerging generation has to offer.
To the Fathers: I Salute You.
— Brother Virgil