Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fathers Day

I spent the weekend at the New Jersey shore - Barnegat Light, on Long Beach Island. Mom and Dad took a beach house for the week, starting the day before Fathers Day.

MaryBeth and I arrived Saturday evening, and besides the two of us, and my folks, only my sister Christine and her friend, Rich, were there. It was good to see them both, and to be able to spend some time with them without all the usual noise and nothingness that seems to prevail when the whole clan is assembled. A nice dinner, some good conversation, the smell and feel of the Atlantic breeze, and all the warmth one could want in this life. It was a lovely evening.

Sunday was fun. My Aunt Mary had arrived late Saturday night. My brother John and his friend, Gert - followed by my sister Mary. Jim and Gen - my son and daughter - arrived shortly thereafter, having started the day at his place in Harlem - a long trip to make on a Sunday. Danny called from Maine to wish me a happy Fathers Day. Makes me proud to have such terrific kids.

As always there were plenty of laughs - none so hearty as the laughter when Dad put on my "Obama '08" ballcap. No pictures were taken of the moment, and that is really too bad. What a good sport!

Speaking of Obama...I heard that he gave a speech on fatherhood - specifically African-American fatherhood. I haven't read it, or heard much of it, but I gather that he channelled Bill Cosby and delivered a bit of a scolding. People seem to have approved of the message, but it smells like Sista Souljah to me, and way off-key. Way off-key.

Fathers Day is a celebration, Barack. A day to celebrate our fathers. One day to focus on the blessing our fathers are in our lives. Not a good day to complain about deadbeats and disappointments.

Something wrong with that. Too self-righteous. Arrogant. Insulting.

My father is a wonderful man. I am proud to be his son. I am most like my father at those moments when I am my best self - patient, loving, cheerful, selfless, gentle, wise, considerate, principled, tolerant, dignified, honest, generous, good-humored, and always reliable.

I love my father. That's the only message we need on Fathers Day.

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