When you are 52, your dad is 30 years older and still works every day, Father’s Day is already special. Still, if I had a dream day as a dad, it would go something like this:
I’d roll out of bed at 8 a.m., climb on the scale, and it would reflect a lunar weigh-in. My wife would have the paper and coffee ready. The Star would report that Hosmer and Moustakas have moved into George Brett’s house. (There’s probably room). The three of them would séance Charlie Lau and Hos-Mo would both hit for the cycle against the Cardinals, finishing a sweep of the series and go on to tie for Rookie of the Year honors.
I would sit down on my laptop and whip up a column using a vocabulary that includes words like derision, nascent, labyrinthine, dissidence and attenuated. Readers would say Posnanski reminds them of me.
Rounding up everyone for church would not, for once, resemble a circular firing squad. Boys would dispense with concert T-shirts from the Killers and instead find things with collars, belts and loafers. The usher would greet us, survey the apparel choices and ask me, “Would you like to bring down the gifts? And say the homily? And hear confessions?” The priest would declare, “There are no special intentions. All the prayers were answered last week.” On the way home my phone would ring and I would say, “Dad, we just left church and I’m still reading the bulletin. There’s a great story here about St. Matthew.”
The news all day would be happy, feel-good stories about Joplin’s recovery and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No one would care about the Wieners or John Edwardses of the world, people who prove the truism that “an empty can makes the most noise.” Gary Lezak would declare a cold front is coming and everyone can put away their weather radios. The debt ceiling most relevant to me — my mortgage — would be reduced.
State Farm would call and say the hail storm totaled our roof, cars, house paint, and the dreadful outdoor patio furniture we bought at Lowes.
I would remember all my passwords. I would correctly guess my kids’, visit their Facebook and de-friend Eddie Haskell and that Paris Hilton wanna-be. I would call an airline and a person would answer. I’d go through Saturday’s mail. My cell phone bill would be one page in size-20 font with a credit owed.
Son #3 would say, “I just got hired as a sacker at Price Chopper! And I get to start today!” My out-of-town boys would call us and then call my Dad. Sunshine the cat would leave a note that she has taken up with another cat of equally unknown gender and moved to Boulder where there is a vet specializing in mood disorders and incontinence. Bernie would decide she doesn’t need to plop down over the living room air vent that blows the coldest air.
Lori would give me that look reminiscent of younger days — the one that all husbands know, frequently occurring on birthdays and anniversaries. We would take a long walk in the evening, with Bernie, and birds would sing in harmony. For one day, the anxiety and stress of raising four kids, a dog and cat in this frantic world would subside. Around nine my dad would call back. “I’ve heard from a couple boys today. You’ve raised a great family. Your mom would be proud.” I would fall asleep at 9:30 and no one would wake me asking me if I took their cell phone charger.
Please God, make it happen. Happy Fathers Day.
Matt Keenan’s book, “Call Me Dad, Not Dude,” is available at Borders and online at thekansascitystore.com. Write to Matt at his website, matthewkeenan.com.