The question was asked ” If papa was a rollin’ stone, do you get him a Father Day gift?” My dad was just that — a rollin’ stone — an absentee father. And it hurt. It hurt then as child and it still hurts now. (My father is passed on, deceased some 12 years now) My first time going fishing my father took me. On my sixth birthday, my dad brought a cake over to our apartment. It did not taste as sweet as expected. I recall hearing him tell my mother that he did not buy the cake, that he made it himself and used bacon grease in place of the oil the recipe called for. That cake and my dad together at the same time — it was the most memorable birthday I had as a youth!
There were long periods of time when I would not see my dad. Many times I recall looking at cars as they drove by, hoping it would be my father so I could call out to him and he would see me and stop. If he called on the phone I would plead with him to come over for a visit. That rarely happened.
Once when my mother was away and my sisters and I were hungry, I tried to feed us. I took fish that was in the freezer, put it in a frying fan and turned the eye on. There was a knock at the door. It was my father. One of my sisters let him in. He looked at me standing at the stove and asked “Where is your mother?” We told him we did not know, He turned back to me and in anger told me that I was doing it wrong — that the fish needed to be thawed out first before frying it. Then he walked out –leaving me at the stove with a frozen fish searing on one side and my hungry sisters bewildered.
In 1994, I graduated from The University of Akron with a Masters of Arts degree in Geography. To spite my father, I intentionally gave a ticket to attend the graduation ceremony to his brother — not him. When he found out, he was offended (as I knew he would be). I excused my actions by saying I did not know how to find him. The truth is I could have tracked him down if I’d wanted to. I did not want to. To this day I regret ever doing that to him.
On June 17th of 1998, my dad died after 3 weeks in hospice care in a nursing home. He never spent a moment alone there, literally. My sisters and I were there at his beside the whole time. After he took his last breath, the attending nurse said she would send an aide in to clean him up (his bowels had released). I said “No, he’s my father I’ll do it.” I shaved him as well, then kissed him on the lips and said “Bye Dad, I love you”.
The question was ” If papa was a rollin’ stone should you get him a Fathers Day gift?”
The answer is…YES. Love says YES.