As a rule, I’m not a fan of Hallmark Days – those occasions when we’re obligated to celebrate and tithe to the tinsel titans who compel us to compassion or guilt.
But Father’s Day has always had a special spot on my calendar – not only because I like fathers who stood up to responsibility, but it serves as day for me to reflect on the sacrifices of a man who once called the Village of Saba home. The man with the loud voice, but a gentle heart. The joke on our side of the village is that my old man will scare the living hell out of a lion with his voice but the soul behind the man we called Dad is as gentle as they come.
Father’s day is a day of remembrance for me. I remember the phone call that broke the terrible news… the demise of my father. It is still vivid in my memory as the morning dew. But I will not dwell on that sad news, because his is a life worth celebrating.
Frankly, I don’t know why Dad doesn’t slam the door on his way out. Considering the abject poverty that bedevils the life of an illiterate African villager; who live literally from hand to mouth.
The reason he doesn’t is because fathers, when they are true fathers, don’t do that sort of thing. They don’t act childishly, throw tantrums, pout and demand attention. They take the guff and keep on trucking or in the case of my old man keep on farming and doing any odd job to feed his family. It’s a very grown-up thing.
Before everyone who had a bad father or a lousy husband starts typing my name, allow me to disclaim: The world is full of good and bad men, some of whom have managed to procreate, as well as good and bad women. Ditto. But this is not about them. This is an ode to a man I grow up to respect and even more after he gasp for his last breath.
This is my appreciation for my father’s patience and understanding. His strength and reliability in spite of the forces arrayed against. This is the reason I celebrate father’s day. If only I can give ol’ dad a call.