Happy Father’s Day
What does it mean to be a father? Depending on which era or generation this question is posed, we would certainly find significant variations of responses. I have always loved the image of a middle-aged male coming home from work, dressed in suit and tie, welcomed by a well-groomed house wife (typically adoring an apron of sorts), happy child, and obedient family pet. All excited that the ‘man of the house’ has returned from a hard day’s work.
As this story plays out in my mind, the husband is greeted at the door by his loving wife, who takes his gloves, hat, and overcoat, while handing him the afternoon paper for his reading prior to dinner being served. The gracious husband and father returns his wife’s greeting with a quick smooch and confidently retreats to his most comfortable chair to enjoy an early afternoon pre-dinner pipe while reading today’s local newspaper. After picking up his favorite, well-loved Dr. Grabow pipe, and loading a bowl of his favorite OTC blend (Granger or Sir Walter Raleigh) the father sits as his son approaches stating, “Here dad, let me light that for you.” The father graciously allows his son to provide the first match charring light while inquiring as to what he learned in school that day.
Knowingly or not, this is one of the many crucial lessons the father is unintentionally teaching his son in the scenario above. No, it’s not that smoking is bad and anyone who does it is a terrible and dirty individual who is sure to be damned to hell. Actually, it is very much the opposite, in that conversation, reading, and relaxation are all good practices and very much necessary in order to live a successful, fulfilling life.
Home Sweet Home, by J.C. Leyendecker. Detail from The American Weekly – June 15, 1947 (retrieved from Eric Boehm’s Facebook account).
Obviously, the picture and scenario above represent a time from previous generations. However, the conversation, bond, love, and respect for dad was evident with the outcome being a family that worked together and depended on one another in order to live a happy, successful life.
It could easily be argued that this interaction and loyalty have been overshadowed, and for the most part lost, due to our current fast paced, greedy, self-fulfilling society. The now obstructed and overemphasized view of equality, rights, and free-speech have given way to the ‘new family’ where most of the values learned in the scenario above, have evaporated like ice in the dessert, or are no longer considered priorities at all due to political correctness (whatever the hell that is…).
For me, I am both blessed and grateful to have a loving family where we still value each other through conversation, relaxation, reading, and the enjoyment of various hobbies (such as board games). It is well known by my amazing wife and kids how much I enjoy smoking a pipe and reading a multitude of literary genres. Therefore, I must admit I was completely shocked when I was gifted a new pipe for Father’s Day this year. Because of our interaction and frequent conversations with one another, my wife was very ‘in tune’ to a specific pipe brand/model I had been stalking lately. To my surprise, and delight, my kiddos gifted me (at my wife’s discretion) a brand-new Stanwell Hans Christian Andersen pipe today.
I mean, wow, what an amazing gift! This only confirms that I am blessed and appreciated by those around me who I value above anything else. Further, this pipe now holds a special place in my collection and heart. Even if it proves to be a terrible smoker, which I am betting it’s not, there is no way I would ever sell or trade this beautiful trinket. In fact, I hope that one day after I’m long gone, one of my own sons will look back at the pipe and remember the joy and happiness it brought me on this Father’s Day. Although it’s not one of my own children lighting a match to provide my first charring light (as seen above), I hope my kids have been able to witness, both today and in the future, the many joys this pipe and others in my collection have brought me. Further, the most valuable lesson to be had is that of making time for relaxation, conversation, and family. By far, these are the keys to being successful in this overopinionated, fast-paced world.
To all the father’s reading this, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Father’s Day. May your day be filled with pipe smoke, food, family, and libations to celebrate your amazing role as dad.