Father’s Day was always a favorite holiday because my Dad appeared to be thrilled with any gift he received. “Fancy!” he’d say. And he saved everything. I mean everything. Called them his “treasures.” He’d keep them in boxes, in dressers, in desks. One entire room in the house was devoted to his “treasures.”
One year I got him a solid milk chocolate bar in the shape of D-A-D. And he didn’t eat it. Not that my father didn’t love chocolate. He did. In the last few months of his life all he ate was Hersey’s Chocolate Bars. But the chocolate DAD he saved in the little plastic box until it turned chalky.
This wasn’t the first time he’d saved a chocolate gift. Once he was going through his “treasure drawer” and pulled out a faded foil wrapped cigar. “Your mother gave this to me our first Christmas,” he said. At the time I was only 8 or 9, and wanted him to unwrap it so we could eat it, but he put it back in the drawer. Later I, also of the terrible sweet tooth, sneaked in the drawer and unwrapped the foil cigar — only to find it disintegrate into chocolate dust and crumbles.
Another Father’s Day I gave him a coffee mug with the words. “Father” “Dad” “Friend” The way the letters were arranged used one of the letters of one word to complete another. And when my Dad first looked at the mug the words he saw were “FAT DAD.” Then he saw his error and laughed. But from then on in my parents’ home, Father’s Day was known as “Fat Dad’s Day.”
When it comes to appreciating gifts, Joe is a lot like that. He doesn’t call them “treasures” but he keeps them just the same. He has all sorts of gifts from me, and the kids, lined up on a set of shelves in his home office. There’s a clay duck that Jacob made him when he was little. A wooden box with a stone heart, I gave him maybe our first Christmas together. A little tiny clay pig that I got him in Ann Arbor. A ceramic “#1” hand-painted with glitter, that I think came from Alex. Little things that would mean nothing to anyone else, but to Joe they are special, because they came from the people he loves.
I guess that is what makes a Father (or Husband) special. When he appreciates the little things, and seems to have taken to heart, “it’s the thought that counts.” I feel lucky to have had a father like that. And equally blessed that Joe is like that too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. May you all receive “treasures” from those you love.
P.S. One of my “treasures” is the picture, above; of my father bouncing me on a trampoline in our backyard.