APPLE SEEDS: From the daughter of the coolest Dad on the planet
As the weekend approaches, I am reminded of the happy times, and days gone by, when my sisters and I would plan and prepare for Dad’s special day.
It may surprise you to learn (I know it surprised me) that Father’s Day is, officially, barely a hundred years old.
A daughter (Sonora Louise Smart Dodd) from Spokane, Washington is attributed the glory of being the founder of this auspicious celebration. She lobbied relentlessly, one of six children raised by her father after the tragic death of her mother in childbirth, and victoriously celebrated the day honoring fathers on June 19th, 1910.
That is the official story. Historians argue that over 4,000 years ago, a message was inscribed on a clay “card” wishing a beloved father a long and healthy life.
A long and healthy life would be ideal. That unfortunately, is not always the case but should not preclude us from celebrating a happy one.
My father, Gerry Grills, passed away 20 years ago at the age of 59. His watchful, paternal eye shaped a rebellious and obstinate teen (yes... rebellious may even be understated) into a responsible adult. Or at least, I try to be, and when that is less than stellar, (which is more than I would care to admit) I remind myself that Dad would not be impressed.
Those thoughts are particularly strong this time of year.
I vividly remember trying to find the perfect gift for the coolest Dad on the planet. My sisters and I -- too young to fully appreciate the power of marketing, even back in the days when every home didn't have three televisions -- excitedly gave my father the aftershave ‘Hai Karate’, every Father’s Day until 1975. (In case you have forgotten, the commercial is below.)
We knew he loved it - he was so happy to open his gift, and he always smelled so good.
After his passing, when clearing out the mysterious Dad drawer we were NEVER allowed to poke around in, some of the treasures we found included several bottles in their original packaging. Turns out, he was then and would always be - an “Aqua Velva” man.
Dad was a huge baseball fan. In the evenings, from June until fall, the radio behind his ‘lazyboy’ broadcasted the Expos game, while he watched the Blue Jays on the big 26” television console.I, a very proud 22 year old, was lucky enough to treat my Dad to Father’s Day on the ball field in Montreal, and was the only daughter on a bus filled with boys and their fathers – a fact I think he enjoyed as much as I did.
Our parents were very social. Saturday night babysitters were commonplace. Much to the frustration and amusement of our mother, Dad, in late from the barn more often than not, would spend the crucial prep time in spirited games of tag or hide and seek and ending in enthusiastic pillow fights, sometimes with casualties , the explosion of the bedroom light fixture being the most memorable.
I strategized with my older sister and teammate, against my dad and our ‘baby’ sister who was, of course, always on his team. And I wonder where my competitive streak comes from.
As times became more complicated (as adult lives tend to do), Dad was the one grounding element that continued to bring us home. To be fair, my mother has assumed the role of matriarch quite admirably, and continues to bring our family home together.
Father’s Day will always be circled on my calendar.
Daily, I remember “dad-isms” that inspire a range of emotions from nostalgia and amusement, to pride and love.
I shall take the better part of Sunday remembering my Dad, telling stories of our escapades as I enjoy my DQ sundae (have I mentioned that his sweet tooth was legendary?) on the grass of Whites Cemetery.
I am still the daughter of the coolest Dad on the planet, and I need to spend quality time with my mentor, my role model, my Dad on this auspicious day.
Hai Karate Old Commercial
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