Father’s Day is like Christmas–a celebration that is often far sweeter in anticipation than it can ever be in reality. Once in a while we need festivals free of our preoccupation with the imperfect or with what might have been. Certainly we need a time not to say, “He did the best he could, given what he knew.”
What would my life have been like with a different father? Less melancholic, less chaotic, but think of all I would have missed. I lift my coffee mug—caffeine, chocolate, hot milk foam—in a toast to my father. Because of him I know for certain that:
- Tennyson, Shakespeare, and Longfellow wrote words worth memorizing.
- Even when snow covers the ground, you can still go out and play nine holes–just as long as you use red golf balls.
- The best friend you’ll ever have is a dog–preferably a spaniel.
- No one sings “Ol’ Man River” like Paul Robson.
- Anyone can be a magnanimous winner. It takes maturity to be a gracious loser.
- Measuring IQ is like measuring beauty with a yardstick.
- A joke exists for every occasion, like the epitaph that read “I expected this, but not so soon.”
- In death, say the honest thing: “I’ve suffered enough. I’m getting out of here.”
Happy Father’s Day, Charles Kennedy. See you, “by Jove,” before you know it.