Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
June 17, 2001

Just being remembered is what most dads want on Fatherís Day

What is the nicest gift I ever received on Fatherís Day? I honestly cannot recall a gift that was special, though I have received many from my sons and their wives.

I can remember receiving shirts, ties, pajamas, tackle boxes, flashlights, tools, after shave lotion, and framed pictures of grandchildren and other family members. Once the boys pooled their money and bought me an electric razor. I still have it though I donít imagine I ever used it ten times. I could not stand that noise so early in the morning.

For several years the boys gave me Old Spice after shave. Once I had three or four bottles of it stashed away. Then they stopped giving me Old Spice; I havenít used any of it for years. I guess the price went up or they got tired of selecting it as a gift.

Neckties were seldom the choice of my sons. None of them enjoys wearing ties. But since my wife insists on my wearing a tie much of the time, I have often wished for a tie on Fatherís Day, especially one someone else picked out.

Selecting ties is not one of my gifts; I have paid good money for some ugly ties. They seemed alright in the store but once I got them home, they looked terrible on me. So I have a few brand new ties in my closet that I have never worn and would not wear to a dog fight.

When the boys were small, and money was scarce, Mom sometimes helped them to buy me handkerchiefs. I always smiled and said, "Thank you." But, honestly, now, can any red-blooded, corn-fed, born and bred in Alabama he-man really feel thrilled about a gift of handkerchiefs? Come on! That is about as exciting as sitting down to eat quiche.

I must admit though that my stock as a preacher went up when I stopped wiping my nose on my shirt sleeves and learned how to use those handkerchiefs. Mom was proud of me and to this day I still have a nice supply of white handkerchiefs.

In the last few years I have actually received few Fatherís Day gifts. I think I have figured out why. My sons all have families of their own now. The money they might have used to buy me a gift they give to their own children to pay for the gifts they give their dad on Fatherís Day. I just hope their wives donít persuade the sweet little things to give dad a package of white handkerchiefs.

This Fatherís Day I will miss my dad. He has been gone for six years now. There are so many days when I wish I could pick up the phone and call him, just to tell him how much I love him. It hurts to remember how much I took him for granted when he was alive, and how many times I should have called him but did not.

I am thankful that for the last 15-20 years of his life, we seldom had a conversation that did not end with our saying "I love you" to each other. I just wish I had been smart enough to tell him that years before I began doing it.

Being a pack rat I find it hard to discard things, and my Fatherís Day cards from my sons I cannot throw away. I have saved dozens of them and they are all precious to me.

This week the cards from my boys began arriving in the mail. The cheaper ones say about the same thing that the expensive ones say: "Thanks, Dad, for all you mean to me."

That is all I need -- just a card to let me know that I am not forgotten. I hope that somehow my boys will forget my mistakes and faults but not forget that even when I failed them as a father I still loved them.

I think that is all most fathers really want, just to be remembered by their children. And if, busy with many things, they fail to send a card, then a phone call will do. Just being remembered makes all the difference in the world.

But if they show up today with fried children, potato salad, and green beans, hey why not? Itís Fatherís Day; letís enjoy it!