Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 13, 2002


Happy Father's Day

My husband has often told me that fathers are an afterthought in the holidays-of-the-year retail cycle. Mother's Day is such a big deal, he says, and Father's Day is just there so dads don't feel left out and so stores have one more opportunity to push sales.

I noticed from the various ads and inserts in the paper that shirts, watches, tools, barbecue grills, video cameras and tents are among the most popular items promoted for Father's Day. My husband has enough shirts to last 30 days without ever washing one, he's had the same watch for years, he has tools that I don't even know the names of, he'd scoff at a barbecue grill, he has a video camera, and he'd think I'd gone over the edge if I bought him a tent.

Probably the most creative gift I've come up with for Art was to put the girls' hand prints on a sheet of paper with this verse: "These little hand prints are for you, so you can see how fast we grew" and signed "Katie, 2 and Mariya, almost 9. Happy Father's Day 1995." I framed it and put it on our hallway wall.

So, what to do this year?

I'll probably get my Dad some shirts because he really needs some summer ones. And, since he's been sort of eyeing them in the stores, I'll give my husband money for a drill press - heaven forbid that I'd know which drill press to pick out myself. But I think the most important thing is for me and my daughters to just be with them and to tell them we appreciate them.

So, Art and Dad, this column's for you.

Thank you, Art, for providing our daughters with a sense of balance. When I am over-protective, you have encouraged the girls to try new things. When I am too concerned with order, you have allowed them to make messes. When I have worried about whether they're eating right, you have slipped them chocolate candy bars. When I've tried to be too proper, you've helped them loosen up.

Thank you for helping them with computer programs, for showing them how to fish, for explaining math and science concepts and for challenging them to think beyond what they hear on television or from other people.

Thank you, Dad, for being there when I've needed you. You took me by the hand and gently led me to my classroom when I started school, you traveled to see me when I lived in a foreign country, you gave me away at my first wedding, you grieved with me when my first husband died, you rejoiced when your first granddaughter - my Mariya - was born, you embraced my second husband into the family, you rejoiced again when Katie was born, and you held my hand for hours when a serious illness left me barely able to move.

And thank you also, Dad, for teaching your three children how to hoe a garden and for telling us to clean our garden tools after we use them so they don't rust, for advising us that if we're going to undertake something, we should do it right or not do it at all, for being the keeper of our family history, and for showing us that gentleness is strength.

We love you and appreciate you. Happy Father's Day!


Left, Dad with Gaila, Gloria and David, July 1956, and right, Art and his girls, Mariya, me and Katie.

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