Close to Nowhere
Father’s Day is Sunday. You can’t turn around without seeing a commercial about what to buy the dad in your life as a present. I’ve even seen a commercial suggesting that you spend $100 on dear ole Dad.
We used to buy my dad shirts or pants. His clothes were always stained and his shirts had little holes all down the front from his cigarettes. He died when I was 30 and as my brother and I cleaned out his stuff; we found piles of brand new shirts and pants. He’d “saved” them.
My dad was an alcoholic and it was a tough relationship. That’s enough said about that.
But I was very fortunate to have loved and been loved by a wonderful father figure. Pop and I started dating when I was 16. We hadn’t been on very many dates when one Friday night he sent his dad and his younger brother to pick me up, as he was frantically fixing his car.
I’d only met Clifford a couple times and then briefly. So when he and John Paul came in and he was talking to my dad, he put his arm around me, hugged me and told my dad how much they all loved me.
I almost cried. My family was not a touchy, huggy family and being hugged was strange. I came to love it though and now I am a very huggy person. I thank Clifford for that.
I’ve also known several men, while not technically fathers, who are wonderful at it. My oldest brother Dennis is one. Dennis has never married, partially due to a severely broken heart when he was younger.
Although he never had kids of his own, he loved our kids. He took them to movies, to car shows, to magic shows, any place he thought they’d enjoy. And, boy, did they love their Uncle Dennis. Still do. My granddaughters love him as much. Their mom and dad are divorced, but with both Pop and Uncle Dennis in their lives, they never lacked a father figure. In fact, after Pop died, they both talked about Uncle Dennis walking them down the aisle when they married.
Another shining example is Sonny Pryor. His wife Marion had a son when they married and he loves Chris as much as any father can. And is he proud of his grandsons. He loves them beyond words.
Sonny also loves just about every kid he ever meets. He and Marion have a ranch they call TWW (Time Well Wasted), and kids are always there, riding horses and eating hot dogs cooked over a huge grill. He also loves and adopts many of the adults he meets, including me and daughter Dana. And my granddaughters. And now my great-grandchildren.
There are many men out there like my much-loved father figures. If you’re lucky enough to have one, whatever else you buy for Father’s Day, make sure you let them know how much you love and appreciate them. That’s really what they want.