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Men really want simple pleasures for Father's Day


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A group of my friends sat watching the NASCAR race last Sunday, some with iced tea, others with frosty beers in our hands. No wives, girlfriends or children were around when somebody mentioned Father’s Day.

Most of us sighed. We knew we were about to get another cookout apron, another tie, another bottle of cologne, or take everyone to a restaurant for a family breakfast (where dads get the bill).

We all appreciate the gestures. We know everyone has good intentions. We know you love us. But I will tell you a secret: what fathers want are simple pleasures.

Then I started to think. What’s wrong with wanting to be pampered? Why shouldn’t I get the same benefits most moms get on Mother’s Day?

After all, I’m 66, so what’s wrong with somebody else cutting my grass, edging the sidewalks and trimming around my fence?

Why shouldn’t someone detail my car or paint the living room? They’re both on my honey-do list. While we’re at it, my shed and garage need cleaning, my driveway, fence and gutters need power washing, and my window sills need caulking and re-painting. There’s a tree leaning too much in the backyard that probably needs to be removed and an overgrown easement behind my backyard that needs to be bush-hogged.

A new set of golf clubs would be nice, or maybe lessons on flying my drone.

I remember 22 years ago, I took my father to play golf on Father’s Day, and when we got to the course, it was very crowded. A five-hour round was not enjoyable, so we both learned to lower the bar.

A year later, he had a stroke. Three years after that, I lost him. He was my best friend, which changed my thoughts about Father’s Day. I remember spending afternoons with him at the VA nursing home. He could no longer speak, but we never had a better connection. That's when I realized the way to pamper me is with simple things and family.

The greatest Father’s Day gift I ever received was a canning jar lid my son decorated in first grade. He glued paper on one side and a magnet on the other. He wrote on the paper: “Fathers are the Best” and he attached his first-grade picture. I’ve had it on my refrigerator since. Now, that little boy is 41.

What makes my Father’s Day really special now is getting a phone call from my son and my grandchildren, Don Henry, Phoenix and Eisley.

All my buddies agree that a handmade card from our children and grandchildren is preferred over a store-bought card. We’d rather have a handmade card than anything you could buy.

Here are some other things that we kicked around during the race.

“I just want to relax … and maybe drink a cold beer.”

“Just chill.”

“I’d like to hang out with the grandkids.”

“I’d like to be in charge of the remote control for one day.”

One grandfather said he cared for his grandchildren, so his wishes differed. “I’d like a quiet week without them and be with my wife – and I don’t mean that in a mean way.”

“I’d like to sleep in.”

“I want one hour of total silence.”

I want to look at the drawings from my grandchildren stuck on the refrigerator and their class photos while waiting for their calls. I will look at my calendar and plan when I can visit Albuquerque to see them and my son. That will be the best Father’s Day of all.