With no statistical facts to uphold my suspicions, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn the television ratings for ‘The Game Show Network’ have spiked dramatically during the past several months. With families sequestered in their homes and most competitive sports programming limited to reruns of games played years ago, those whimsical shows at least bring a type of competition and unknown outcomes into viewer’s homes.
There’s no telling how many episodes of ‘Family Feud’ and ‘America Says’ Jean and I have watched and cheered from the sidelines as game show contestants try to come up with the right answers to questions posed. To those unfamiliar with the premise, the contestants try to match their answers to those gathered from surveys previously taken of 100 people. They accumulate points each time their correctly match those pre-recorded answers. It’s pretty simple stuff, but it’s fun and the best part – it’s competitive. It is like watching two teams compete, you can pick sides, have a rooting interest and second-guess every answer they give.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a celebration that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. In America, this year will mark the 110th observance of the day that began at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington by Sondra Smart Dodd on June 19. 1910. Like Mother’s Day, its intent is to honor the institution of fatherhood. But as American holiday observances go it is a little bit a stepchild.
If we were to use the word-association format of the aforementioned games shows, it might go something like this: Name a word associated with an American holiday. The top answers on the board might be: Valentine’s Day (lovers); Fourth of July (fireworks); Halloween (candy); Thanksgiving (turkey); Christmas (presents); Mother’s Day (flowers & dinner). You get the idea. Now – Father’s Day?????
The answers aren’t as quick to come to the surface. It is not that Dad’s aren’t appreciated, but those words associations don’t just roll off the tongue. Hopefully, in this day of age, a tie isn’t the number one answer.
Like so many other things these days, the Lowery family’s Father’s Day tradition of over twenty years has fallen by the wayside caused by the discourteous actions of Covid-19. Since the first grandchild was old enough to walk we have all gathered at Knoebel’s Grove to socialize, eat and enjoy the various trappings offered by the park. It has always been a fun day highlighted by roller coasters, haunted houses and bumper cars.
This year we will all be gathering, but the surroundings will be a bit tamer. It will be a backyard picnic with bean bag toss, croquet and basketball the activities of choice. It will be fun and we won’t have to buy tickets. The fathers among us, son Doug, son-in-law Ric and me probably won’t have to do much but tell stories and enjoy each other’s company, which in itself will be a wonderful Father’s Day gift. That tells the tale as to why there isn’t a quick word-association with the meaning of Father’ Day. Most Dads are just as happy spending the day with loved ones, playing a game of backyard catch, throwing a fishing line in the water or hitting the links for a round of golf.
If your Dad is still among us, plan to pay him a personal visit, or if that isn’t possible pick up the phone and call him (skip the text messages). If he has passed and his resting place is near-by visit that location to express your own private thank you and remembrances of times spent together.
Both my mother and father were fortunate to live long lives and Mother’s Day celebrations were shared in person. Father’s Day was not the same. My parents divorced when I was a freshman in college and while Dad and I had a great relationship, on Father’s Day it was long-distance. He relocated to Arizona and although many trips were taken his way, Father’s Days were always spent on the telephone.
‘Like father, like son’ is a familiar saying and even though I didn’t subscribe to that theory in my younger days, the older I’ve gotten the more true that statement has become. The same is beginning to be said about Doug, especially by his wife, Angie, ‘if I want to know what Doug will be like as he gets older, all I have to do is look at you.’ That’s one of the job descriptions of a Dad, pass along to your sons and daughters not only the traditions of your family but the inspiration for them to raise their families well and do the right things in life. My Dad raised me to love sports and the competition and friendship it brings. For the younger Lowery’s and Fosters, those ideals are being passed down the line.
As for a Father’s Day sports gift, I doubt any of you can top Jim Bunning’s gift to his dad on Father’s Day, June 21, 1964 (56 years ago to the date of this year’s Father’s Day). On that day the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher tossed a nine-inning 6-0 perfect game victory against the New York Mets.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find just that right gift for Dad on his day. But whatever that gift may be it won’t top a big hug and a thank you of appreciation for all that he has done for you over the years.