I found this article in with the many poems and stories that I have collected over the years. As Father’s Day will be celebrated this weekend, I think that now is the perfect time to share it on this blog. The role of ‘Dad’ is greatly under-rated in our society. But the fact is, a Dad’s (or Grandpa’s) ideas and values do have a great deal of influence over kids and the entire household, as this story demonstrates.
I have a great friend down in Montgomery, Alabama, and a few years ago he told me an unforgettable story of a summer vacation he had planned for his wife and children. He was unable to go because of business, but he helped them plan every day of a camping trip in the family station wagon from Montgomery all the way to California, up the West Coast, and then back to Montgomery.
He knew their route exactly and the precise time they would be crossing the Great Divide. So, my friend arranged to fly himself out to the nearest airport and hire a car and a driver to take him to a place where every car must pass. He sat by the side of the road several hours waiting for the sight of that familiar station wagon. When it came into view, he stepped out in the road and put his thumb out to hitchhike a ride with the family who assumed that he was 3,000 miles away.
I said to him, “Coleman, I’m surprised they didn’t drive off the road in terror or drop dead of a heart attack. What an incredible story. Why did you go to all that trouble?”
“Well, Bruce,” he said, “someday, I’m going to be dead and when that happens, I want my kids and my wife to say, “You know, Dad was a lot of fun.”
Wow, I thought. Here’s a man whose whole game plan is to make fun and happiness for other people. It made me wonder what my own family will remember about me. I’m sure they will say, “Well, Dad was a nice guy but he sure worried a lot about putting out the lights and closing the windows and picking up around the house and cutting the grass.” But I’d also like them to be able to say that Dad was the guy who made life a lot of fun.
Do you think that Coleman’s kids remembered this experience for the rest of their lives? My guess is that they grew up sharing fun things with their own families. What will your family remember about you?
Happy Father’s Day everyone!