Father’s Day should really be two Sundays, don’t you think? A celebration of such important icons as fathers should at least measure up to the hoopla surrounding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. So, I suggested to my family that last Sunday and this upcoming Sunday should both be celebrated with gifts, fine foods, and protestations of love. Oddly enough, this did not occur. In fact, not only was last Sunday a large disappointment, but this Sunday may also be at risk. This is a national crisis. Little does the world realize that the emotionally unavailable guy at the end of the table is an awesome Ninja Warrior — yes, with a small pot belly. Now you know.
You don’t believe me? Let’s just review. If you go to Iowa City and walk on the pedestrian mall south of the public library you will see this amazing bronze statue:
Look at that. Doesn’t that knock your socks off? And, yes, a father takes care of the small things. Sometimes they seem really small (resist the urge to compare him to your mom — she had nine months of talking to you without you talking back — unfair playing field), but he has skills to pass on. Small skills. Like tying your shoe. Just think about your own father. Did he teach you how to drive? Did he give you your first shaving lesson? Did he show you how much food to give the dog? You have your own list. But notice as you’ve gotten older — everything is the small things.
How about this bronze out in front of the West Des Moines Police Department? It demonstrates the obvious — The Protector.
Dads protect. Yup. When you hurt yourself, who carries you to mom? Without a doubt, your dad. Who comes in at night when the aliens are beating on your bedroom window hoping to suck your insides into another dimension? That would be dad. And who wraps you in arms so strong that you wish your insides had been sucked into another dimension because your insides are now crushed? Dad again. Of course, dads are also terrified of the aliens. But your awareness of his terror may be the last step to becoming your own protector. Thank you, dad.
Finally, dads are gentle spirits who are just trying to muck their way through a world that is not so gentle. Look at this bronze statue buried away on the south side of the Urbandale Library:
This gentle grandfather/father is telling truthful stories — not truthful facts (where is the story in that?) — but stories true to life. Made-up stories. Stories that give children operating instructions. This gentle spirit has become the custodian of how to live. Not bad.
Okay, so if you lift up the right sleeve of any of these fathers, you’ll see the hidden throwing star. I told you, they’re Ninja Warriors. They should be honored. Get it together and do something this Sunday — remember: gifts, fine food, and protestations of love.