Touching base with Dad on Father’s Day

By Grant McGee: Local Columnist

Father’s Day is Sunday. Will you be touching base with your dad?

You know we all have thoughts of our fathers, good and bad.
My relationship with my father was full of ups and downs. I was riding my bike to work the other day remembering the ups. This summer marks 20 years since my dad left this plane of existence and went on to wherever we go when we leave here.

My father was a World War II veteran in the Pacific theater. He married my mom just before he was shipped off to what he termed a “secret mission.” Years later he’d show us pictures of where he’d been (Okinawa) but he still wouldn’t say what he did there. He was that kind of guy. His life was “by the book,” right or wrong, black or white; very few gray areas.

I didn’t get to see the sentimental side of my father too often, but it was nice when it happened. When I was a little boy my dad and mom went off to one of those cocktail parties they always seemed to be going to. I was napping when they left. When I woke up I found my dad had written a nice note to me on a big piece of paper telling me I was a “big boy” and could take care of myself and it was signed with love. I kept that for years until it vanished somewhere along the trail of life.

My father laid out rules like, “You’re known by the company you keep,” or “If you’re good you’ll never get into trouble.”
When I was 17, I got into a bit of trouble with the law. Truthfully, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. My father was out of town on business. I thought for sure I’d be in huge trouble with him, too. He stopped what he was doing and came home. As soon as he walked in the door he beckoned me down to the basement. He sat me down and wanted to know exactly what happened. After I’d finished telling him my side of things he told me not to worry, the truth would come out in court. He told me about something similar that had happened when he was 17. It was a good, rare time when he opened up to me.

The last time I saw my father he was in a hospital bed. He looked at me with a very sad face. He wouldn’t talk to me. He looked away a lot. It seemed as though I’d done something wrong. I smiled and told him I loved him and what a great dad he was. Then it was time to go.

Months later, after his passing, I asked my mom why he kept looking away and wouldn’t say anything to me.

“He thought he hadn’t done enough for you,” she said.

“Now that’s not true,” I said. “He did the best he could, as best he knew how.”

Like we all do.

I would have liked to have had a better relationship with my dad and not been such a know-it-all teenager and a hot-headed young man.

I think a lot of us, men and women, have those thoughts.
Father’s Day is Sunday. Will you be touching base with your dad?

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: blisscreeksw@yahoo.com