Happy Father's Day..
A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012
Preface / Introduction
As Father's Day quickly approaches, it is only fitting that we take time to remember and give thanks to dear old dad. For me, it is only fond memories and hopes of more to come. Because of this I have chosen one of my favorite songs to accompany this introduction. It's called "A Father's Love" by George Strait. Go now to any search engine and find this song. My favorite is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrTidoW2Erc. Listen carefully to the words as you read my intro to this ebook. As far back as I can remember my dad has always been the rock our family stood on. Always knowing the right thing to do..the right thing to say. He was always one to put his family first and make sure my brother and I had everything we needed..a stable home enviorment and two parents who made sure we knew we were loved no matter what. I can remember like it was yesterday, the first time I got an F on my report card. My mother was furious and said "Wait till your father sees this". When he got home and he was shown the report card I have to tell ya, I was literally shaking. He looked at the report card, then he looked at me and said “Dale I am really disappointed in you.” “You ARE better than this but I love you anyway and I know you will do better next time.” But there were also many happy times like when he went away on business and we met him in Los Angeles. We went to DisneyLand and while inside the park we ran accross Mickey Mouse. “Dad said come-on let’s get a picture with Mickey.” I ran as fast as I could the other way. Heck I was only about 7 and that mouse seemed like a giant to me. Or the times we spent outside in the front yard workin on cars together. Dear old dad taught me everything I know about fixing cars and that was enough to rebuild the motor in my 78 Z-28 years later. Yes my dad has given me more than I could have ever hoped for and has taught me so much about life and what is important..family, friends and the fact that it is not what you have that is important but who you have to share it with that is. But most important he has taught me how to be the man I am proud to be. That I can do anything I want to do just make up your mind and do it and to be someone of integrity who says what he means and means what he says. One who’s promise is as good as gold. So now that I have given you a little insight into my feelings about dad, I hope that the articles below will conjer up some fond memories for you to. Thanks Dad!
Table of Contents
1. 'I'm gonna be like you, dad. You know I'm gonna be like you.' U.S. Father's Day, June, 2011. 2. Of boys and the rivers they must travel.
Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012
'I'm gonna be like you, dad. You know I'm gonna be like you.' U.S. Father's Day, June, 2011.
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant Author's note. To get into the mood of this special Father's Day article, go to any search engine and find "Cat's in the Cradle" sung by Harry Chapin in 1974. Its refrain is haunting, and every boy-turned-father understands the bite in the words, often painfully so... "A child arrived just the other day", February 16, 1947. It was my birth day but, as I couldn't possibly have known, it was the end of their honeymoon and that special tea-for-two idyll that comes only once. My parents married February 16,1946; I teased them for years about the importance of that last digit. Like all babies, I expected, demanded and maneuvered to be the center of their lives. It's what babies do. But I can imagine now what was going on in the weeks prior to that mad-dash to the hospital that transformed my beautiful young mother from a wife with a constituency of one... into a multi-tasking mother. I was the first born child, first child, first son, first grandson on both sides; every one of these designations pushed omniscient women forward and my father back. The process, you see, in those post-War years was not made for fathers, no matter how caring. And, upon arrival, I monopolized my mother. I've told you, it's what babies do... and even then I was masterful at my craft. There must have been times, though no one to this day has ever said so, when he missed the bright, laughing eyed girl he'd married. She was the essence of the "fun on a date" 'forties girl who had the gift of joy with lots to spare. She gave me a clue years later, telling me she didn't like children, didn't mean to have any, and thought they looked like frogs. (Queen Victoria thought so, too). But, she quickly added and always emphasized that all that changed when the nurse handed me over for my first visit, textbook perfect infantile innocence. I'd "come into the world in the usual way". And I was determined to keep the full and undivided attention of the woman who didn't yet know how her own instincts would conduce to my constant benefit; literally born yesterday I didn't need Dr. Spock to tell me that. Into this new, unstudied situation my father had to move and move delicately for now words like "shhhhhh, he's sleeping" meant sacrifice, limitations, and even unwonted loneliness. It was a sea-change from the happy "you-for-me-and-me-for-you" days of such recent memory. "He learned to walk while I was away." Like most children I don't know what I actually remember or what I have, from pictures and family stories, been taught to remember. But there is hardly a memory either way that is not more her than him. He worked hard, long hours, lucky to have a job in the recession that promptly came with our unqualified war victory. She was the center of my universe. And, like Chapin, my first steps were probably taken when he was being a "good provider". But there is a story that sums up the situation. One hot, humid Illinois summer day (are there any other?) when I was about three, my mother and I screamed for ice cream. But there was not a dollar to be had... except for a dollar bill my father had circulated amongst his Navy buddies, to be autographed by each. Such a token was not to be http://www.HomeBizGroup5000.com Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012 4 of 10
Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012 surrendered lightly, but it was surrendered nonetheless, for the delicacy of an instant and later, poignant regrets. He must have loved us very much to do such a thing... it says volumes about the man. "My son turned ten just the other day. He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play." In the suburbs of Chicago in the early Eisenhower years, you needed to be good at handling the balls of several sports... or so bright that you could afford to ignore sports because you were destined for greater things. My brother filled the first category; I filled the second. I knew my brother was easier to handle; he fit in, particularly the year he made the state Little League team, and we all trooped down to Freeport to watch him, resplendent in a uniform that said "Moose"; this was lifetime certification that he was a boy's boy... I was different, always with my nose in a book, the one who when asked at age 10 or so what he wanted to be when he grew up, without dropping a beat, said "Harvard graduate; millionaire; writer of many books." II wasn't what prairie parents were accustomed to hearing... What's more, it all came true in due course... Another celebrated incident took place about this time. My parents and I went to some local swimming hole for a day of the kind of innocent amusements I couldn't wait to escape from. At the end of the day, it was, I think, my mother who said the inevitable line about their guests, "Cute couple. Great relationship." That sort of thing. What did I think? Without missing a beat I said I thought they had problems... and seer-like, foretold splitsvillle. Of course, I was told I was wrong, but just weeks later they separated. My stock soared... and my father pressed me less to fire a gun, build superb back yard igloos, throw a ball, you get the picture. He had to wonder about this creature sui generis.. and what his role as father might mean or entail. I was not an easy child, although I say it myself, an interesting one. He must have seen I was moving beyond his sphere into uncharted waters. I could hardly wait until it happened and my joy at crossing another day off the calendar, the sooner to commence my Great Journey, must have been palpable, even affronting. I did not want what his life epitomized and I was too green, unknowing how to say this without insult... and uncaring about the effect. There was, in those years, more coexistence than empathy., not least because he tried hard to get me to understand and adopt verities he saw as fundamental and essential... about which I had quite different ideas. I severely embarrassed him the day I refused to answer the pastor's call for Communion, being unable to subscribe to the tenets. (I have never taken Communion sincen.) There was, too, his desire that I should understand the farmer's life practised by all my cousins and should, as part, learn how to harvest oats and drive a tractor. The first scratched; the second bored. Neither oats nor tractor have played any role in my development. "Well, he came from college just the other day..." My launching pad to the vision I had long been shaping for my life came with a college acceptance letter. ..... and thereafter, too long, communications were as rushed and superficial as Harry Chapin sings. "I've long since retired and my son's moved away..." And so it might have stayed, both of us stubborn, obstinate, headstrong -- proud men, unyielding. But, you see, the love that caused a prized war memento to be sacrificed had always been present, waiting for auspicious times. He told me the other day, cast down now and again by the tremors and afflictions of the way we age now, that he was ready to go whenever the good Lord wants him. And neither he nor I fear that... for we have, at last, found each other and gladly so. http://www.HomeBizGroup5000.com Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012 5 of 10
Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012 "And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, He'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."
Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012
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Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012
Of boys and the rivers they must travel.
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant Author's program note. If you were a real boy, like my father and like me, you never saw a river you did not want to know better. But it had to be a river... a thing of shimmering possibilities, always moving, always beckoning, never the same, not even for an instant. This thing called to you, and sleep was always difficult when you were near a river traversed by people from far away places, who went where they liked, when they liked and had real lives like you could only imagine. And you did imagine, early and late... until the chance arrived for you to do more than imagine... to have instead the chance to see for yourself. For that is what you always wanted... and now that you are grown... you want it still, don't you? For when the river has seized your brain (as every river aims to do)... the river owns you for life... and you can never see one, a proper river mind, that does not, siren-like and luring, call you to come see what you know so well you have missed for so long. For this article, I might have selected as incidental music Jerome Kern's iconic tune "Old Man River" from the 1929 film "Showboat." But that tune is too dark and challenging for my purpose... and while Paul Robson's rendition is brilliant, it forces you to dig deep and think about things you might not want to think about just then.... for dreaming is what you want to do on the river... a very different thing from cogitation and ponderation. Instead, I chose a song of the late nineteenth century, "Polly Wolly Doodle", first published at Harvard, my own alma mater, right across the street from where I am writing now. It appeared in a Harvard student songbook in 1880. It's a bouncy tune (what else would Shirley Temple have sung in her 1935 film "The Littlest Rebel"?); the kind of organized nonsense a boy would sing with the unabashed glee of unburdened mind, thrilled as he was to be on the river and away from mom who made him wipe his feet and wash his hands before dinner. You didn't know what a "polly wolly doodle" was, but you knew you would like it... You'll find the words and lyrics in any search engine. Go ahead, sing it. It'll lift your spirits and put you in just the right mood... the river mood. Any river, not merely some river, no matter how great. This is a tale about rivers, all rivers, not just some river, no matter how renowned, celebrated, powerful and captivating. This may rile the spirit of "Old Man River," the Mississippi, the greatest river on earth, but, with bold temerity, I remind this river's spirit that it is so great because all the rivers of this great continent pay it the full tribute of their every drop. And so this, while always being homage to you, is also tribute to all who share your sinuous attributes... River folks The Marshalls and all their branches, for all they were kin to statesmen as great and as different as Chief Justice Marshall of undying Supreme Court fame and a much later General of the Army and saviour of Europe George C. Marshall, had the itch to go West. And so, in due course, they came to see the great Mississippi flow from the vantage point of Stronghurst, Illinois, a piddling river town which even today can call hardly a thousand souls its own. But because of the river, which could take them anywhere, they put down deep roots in a town from nowhere. And that river, its people and its cultures, bit deep. My grandfather Harvey Lant, who died when I was young, must have felt that bite for he took his only son over ta' Burlington, 'cross the river, ta' where the great river queens held raucous court. It was because such royalty (especially the cassino boats and the showboats) were gaudy, meretricious, of salacious intent and always deep in the ways of river trickery and hoodwinkery that the real ladies, the God-fearing, church-social ladies, the stalwarts of our lives, never went with their http://www.HomeBizGroup5000.com Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012 7 of 10
Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012 menfolk when they had determined, as my ordinarily mild grandfather now had, to see the great river and its ways close at hand. The queens and the ladies did not know each other. Grampa had invited his nephew Richard, my father's cousin, to be a part of this strictly male, and as it happened unique event. The boy was anxious to go, would go, but as my father recalls, the youthful disdain and contempt abiding after 7 decades and more, he was "mollycoddled" by his stern mama Grace.... a woman of iron habits and high degrees of strictness, strictures, scriptures who made sure he would not go. My father, just 8 himself, recalls to this day the rue in that little pinched face as Richard was left behind and they set off.... Years later, when he was a wealthy man, this cousin confessed he remained deeply regretful, for the river had eaten in to him, too, at least a bit. Still... "Had he really wanted to go..." But with the mollycoddled, you could never tell.... And so this became because of one woman's worrying nature, a once-in-a-lifetime journey where one discovers along the way one's father... his values... and, the most important thing of all, his love for you... Burlington, Iowa, now boarding for all the destinations on earth. Even today when only the vestiges of Burlington's high-flying past remain, it is still possible to see this city as it wants to be seen... as a place of international demeanor and outlook, a place to connect anyone to anywhere he wants to go; not some hick town in the corn belt, but a grand destination, entirely familiar with gourmet foods (fresh local, too), the best wines of epoch vintages, high stepping musicales and painted ladies no better than they should be. This was possible because of the river and only because of the river. And grandfather thought my father should see it.. and I admire him the more for the thought, for perhaps he left behind a smoldering spouse, who would well and surely give him her unvarnished opinion later... in dinners a little overcooked... in favorite foods suddenly unavailable.. in linens changed less frequently and sour towels left a day too long ... in dark glances and meaningful asides... all this and more primordial evidences of unmistakable distaff disapproval, unanswerable, yet deeply felt and always clearly understood. But that was later... Now, in the midst of Depression ravaged Illinois, with the land stalked by fears of every kind, they were en route to the Burlington Iowa bridge where you could see the river, broader here, and the fleet that would sail in your mind's eye for your whole life. And it was all happening in a place called Burlington, named after one of England's most stylish milords, a place that launched steamboats of beauty and renown.... and the railroad grandchildren Jeffrey and Kevin would take to the zoo in Hollywood, Illinois. But that was years from now, and unimagined. What was the name of the ship? The odds were it would be queen of..., belle of..., then one of the grand river ports whose names resonate... St. Louis, Cincinnati, Natchez, New Orleans... he thought it might have been the Delta Queen, and I hope it was; though my research showed that she was in Stockton, California those years. That was the ship presidents selected for a little cruise... and always the pictures for Life magazine.. Truman, Carter and Hoover did it... but Hoover did it later when the nation hated him less for doing so little when so much was required. One day down to Cairo, one day back up. You can imagine the joy of this boy, the only son, so lucky so little touched -- yet -- by the economic maelstrom ... Here's a hunch why his father was so insistent about going now. Like millions of fathers across the land, Harvey followed the dismal news and in this year of grace 1932, there was more to fear than fear itself. And so he decided that his son should have this treat before his ability to bestow such a gift was submerged by events. And so there was a great urgency about the matter... Thus, from the Texas deck of a great queen, threatened like everything but majestic now, lightly http://www.HomeBizGroup5000.com Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012 8 of 10
Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012 passengered, theirs to enjoy, they followed the route of Huck and Jim to Cairo (Kay-Row), which made locals chuckle when the out-of-towners said Ki-Row, llinois... Huck missed the turn to the Ohio River... and thus sent them into the Deep South, living hell for Jim as a runaway slave. This day the captain did not err; I doubt they would have minded if he had, and so they went to Cairo, a place of dark beauty and diabolic secrets.. My father remembers nothing of that but recalls his father holding his hand as they moved along the swift Ohio... and the look in his eyes that day... a look he did not understand until he had an 8 year old of his own... **** Your response to this article is requested. What do you think? Let us know by posting your comments below.
Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012
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Happy Father's Day..A Tribute To Dad's Around The World 2012
About the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author's permission by Dale Thomson http://HomeBizGroup5000.com.
Copyright Dale Thomson - 2012
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