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Cam Marston on Fathers Day

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Father’s Day is Sunday. I hope all you fathers have a wonderful, celebratory, appreciation filled day, and I hope that you with fathers still alive offer the same to yours. My newly widowed father simply wants a phone call. That plus a year’s supply of casseroles.

I remember a conversation with my mother years ago. My children were entering their teens, and I asked my mother at what age does a child become grateful for the extraordinary amount of work parents do for them. At what age will my children turn to my wife and me and say, “Thank You for all you’ve done?” And my Mom’s reply, “We’re still waiting,” which stung a bit.

Speaking of mothers, I remember a Mother’s Day when I was a teen. My father and mother told my brothers and me that on the Sunday of Mother’s Day, Mom didn’t want much, just something to acknowledge her – something that reminds us of her, and they left it up to us. When Sunday morning came, my brothers and I had done nothing. We just never got around to it and, wow, what a mistake! I remember my mother’s oceans of tears, and I remember how upset my father was, and I have never missed a Mother’s Day, and, in fact, today I over-prepare for the Mother’s Days in our household.

I used to take my kids to a florist and tell each of my four kids to pick out five flowers that make them think of their mother. My wife would get a large random arrangement of twenty flowers that was not particularly attractive, but each flower had a story of why it reminded one of my children of their mother, and the kids would go through each one of the flowers one by one with her.

My brothers and I have given my father fruit trees for Father’s Day for as long as I remember. None of them ever survived, and by now, his camp in Clark Country would be full of mature fruit trees, but the soil or the climate or something kills them every time. We’ve stopped and now just make a sincere and grateful phone call, which I’ll do early Sunday morning.

Around my house this past week, my wife and children have been finding sheets of paper with a short list of Father’s Day gift ideas on it. I’ve printed about ten of them and placed them in strategic places – on toilet seats, in cereal boxes. Some items are very practical – for example a couple new pair of short pants, some are helpful – like a full detailing of my car, and some are highly aspirational, like a bottle of Macallan 18 scotch which is both crazy expensive and hard to find, and I’d feel guilty that that much money was spent on me for something that will be slowly, deliciously, intentionally, and reverently consumed only on perfect days with choirs of angels singing from the heavens in the background.

It would be, though, the perfect way for my family to say “thanks, Dad.” Are you listening?

I’m Cam Marston, and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.