Father’s Day, bah humbug. Pardon me for the negativity on what is a special day for fathers around the country. I do appreciate my husband for being a good and morally supportive father to my children. If it had not been for him I might have run away a time or two, but he has always been there to pick up the pieces in my times of faltering motherhood and made sure the meals were cooked, the clothes were washed and the school projects were finished on time. For him I offer my utmost gratitude on this third Sunday in June.
The humbuggery attitude comes from that little pit of emptiness that I feel when confronted with the fact my father is no longer here to celebrate. No longer do I get the chance to hear him say, “Looka here, looka here,” as he opened another can of peanuts, bag of birdseed, or Guayabera shirt. Daddy never asked for gifts. He used to say all he needed was a box to put it in. After he died I learned that the box he kept it in was full to the top of gifts he never even took out of the package. I pilfered the stash and kept a Guayabera or two still sealed in the plastic bag they came in.
Earlier this evening my sister, the Middle Child, posted a picture of Daddy and her husband, John, on what appear to be a Christmas morning many years ago. I surmised Christmas because poor John looks as if he hasn’t slept in a week, and Daddy is grinning ear to ear. Daddy was always joyful at Christmas. Another clue is he has his glasses in his hand, a sign he had been reading. He read and studied every nametag, package and instruction sheet before going to the next gift.
I wish there was more in the frame. I want to see the entire kitchen with the table covered in gift wrap and platters of good things to eat. I want to see the stovetop with its splattered backsplash and pots on every eye. All I do see is an empty paper towel roll and the drying rack Mama kept on the counter next to the sink. The cabinets are blue so I know the picture was taken before the last kitchen remodel. In my mind I can visualize what I would see if the doors were opened; drinkware in the one behind Daddy and dishes of varied patterns and sizes on the left side behind John. On the right side I would see stacks of casserole dishes and mixing bowls. It’s a miracle the shelves did not sag from the weight of it all. The lower cabinet between them held bottles of alcoholic beverages and a bottle of moonshine or two all older than whatever my age was at the time. My parents kept it for company but never drank it themselves. It was so rarely touched it was mostly forgotten.
Just when I think my mind is shot and I can’t remember anything a picture like this surfaces and I remember everything. Unlike those dusty bottles of booze in that lower cupboard the memories of my father are always close enough to touch and never forgotten. He is with me always, and I do not need a Sunday in June to remind me.