Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all affections, as there is room in the heavens for all the stars. ~ Victor Hugo (he is the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Norte Dame)
Today as we sank into the soft leather chairs that faced each other, the four of us lit cigars, took a sip of our coffee, and threw out the question: “What does it mean to be a father?” Yes, we know that the biological requirement is pretty obvious. But what does it mean to be a father? The topic that we ended up discussing was really: ‘what qualities of being a father do we celebrate?’ As a father might say, ‘well that’s a horse of a different color.’ We enter tricky territory talking about something that has a different meaning from family to family and from age to age. We realize that ‘father’ is an ideal that depends upon your situation. We, the little cigar coterie, have a rather common experience of a male head of household type father. Although we speak from that experience we are intending to promote that ideal as better than any other. Maybe the most famous father of that type was the dad in the television show Father Knows Best. He gave audiences a vision of father as the wise patriarch protecting, providing, and pontificating nuggets of wisdom. Ah those nuggets of wisdom. Bud or Kitty would go into the his office, which kind of served as a man cave in the 1950’s. There everyone was quiet and calm and dad would solve life’s problems with a simple statement. There was a type of dad wisdom that we given.
Here are so the ones that we still remember:
‘measure twice, cut once.’
‘to make a friend you have to be one.’
‘a penny saved is a penny earned’
‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’
If we go back a little bit further the pro tray also of father is is even more authoritative. I remember a scene in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town in which two young people are pledging their love for the first time. The girl expresses that the boy should be perfect like her father is. Hey, no pressure kid! Perfect?
As we each take a long slow drought of our cigars, we nod just as slowly acknowledging how that truthful statement applies to our fathers. I mean let’s start with their perfect sense of fashion. What was it Jerry Seinfeld said about that? Oh yeah, “You can always tell what was the best year of your father’s life because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.” Our first response is ‘ouch’, followed by laughter, and then that silent realization that he was right. Of course there is that ability to quickly make a parenting decision and assert himself as king of his domain:
“Dad can I go to the movies?”
“Yes, if your mom says so.”
As one person relates. I gave my dad a hundred dollars for Father’s Day and told him to buy something to make his life easier. He went to and bought my mom a gift.
Mark Twain sums up the father/son dynamic very well: “When I was fourteen I couldn’t believe how stupid my father was. When I turned twenty-one I was shocked at how much he had learned in seven years.”
The truth is that having a good relationship with your father is an incredible blessing. They are our strongest supporters, fearless defenders, and unconditional friends for life.
Happy Father’s Day from us at Tabanero Cigars!
Post Script ~ We fully acknowledge that for some the general idea of father has been tainted by the wrongs of a particular father. By no means we do want to gloss over your pain, we are truly sorry for your suffering and sincerely hope that you find the healing that brings you the wholeness of health.