For many of us, Mother's Day is a time to reflect on all the unsung work fathers do with little thought to their needs, allergies and nap schedule. Hence, Mother's Day is the ideal Father's Day, and, as we know, the word "hence" doesn't kid around.
It's probably too late to return the Mother's Day card and gift, but it's not too late to plan your special Father's Day gift.
Take a moment today to ask, What does your father deserve? Of course, he deserves many things, but pick just one. And none of these homemade cards or gifts. None of this spending quality time together, either.
Think material things. Think wonderfully expensive material things.
You know he wants one. You've seen him watching all those fishing shows -- "Deadliest Catch," "Deadliest Tuna," "Deadliest River Monster," "Deadliest Perch." You saw his list of dream boat names -- Comp Time, Second Mortgage, Bankruptcy II. Do you remember that night you caught him on his computer scanning 4,000 listings on Boat Trader? Remember how fast he shut down his computer after you busted him?
"A father isn't a father until he has owned a boat." Hemingway said that. Not Ernest, just some dude named Frank Hemingway. The point is your father will never be complete until he's the captain of his ship -- and can remember what day the recyclables go out.
Let me tell you a little story about a man who owned three boats, each one bigger and more expensive than the next. His last boat -- a 28-foot Cobalt -- was harbored at Mears Marina in Eastport. Now that man drives there, stands outside the locked fence, and gazes at his old empty slip -- which, on the page, sounds a tad pathetic.
Many years ago in the Time Before College Tuitions, the man bought the white bow rider with a blue hull and Volvo inboard. Oh, she was yar. Oh, she hated starting. Oh, that first day at Mears, when the new boat owner did not secure her properly. Oh, the phone call two weeks later from the adjacent sailboat owner who presented an estimate of damages.
The man eventually took his boat out to sea. Above him, postcard blue Annapolis skies, and knifing around him, 52,000 sailboats, and below him, nine inches of water. Did he run aground a time or two on the mighty bay? That, he did. Did he wish he had taken a course on boating safety? He did.
But, by God, he was a boat owner -- the captain of his ship and soul. Every day on the water was Freedom. Every day on the water was Father's Day. Every day at the boat mechanic's was Father's Pay Day.
You know how this story ends.
His children got older, and family boating trips became forced-marched outings. The man went out on his boat less and less. He never truly got over his fear of approaching sailboats and propeller-ending shallows. He tried fishing, but there were no river monsters or tuna. One day, he sold his 28-foot Cobalt for THOUSANDS less than he paid for it, and this from a man who NEVER uses all caps.
Man and boat weren't right for each other, or maybe their timing was just off.
So, today on Father's Day, better to give your father a funny card or some WD-40.
That's good for boats, I hear.