Happy Father’s Day


By Rachel Hale

Contributing columnist

This month we will be celebrating all of the dads, both present and past. Although mine has been gone for 12 years, I still have my husband and my son to celebrate this year. Our oldest son, Alex, is the father of a very active, curious and (in my opinion) adorable 2-year old boy.

The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972 — 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official — that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States. Father’s Day 2024 will occur on June 16.

Daddy was a WWII Navy Veteran and would be 99 years old this year. He raised me to respect people, tell the truth and live up to your word when you give it to someone. He was a tough guy when he needed to be, but had a heart the size of Texas when it came to his daughters and grandkids. I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old, I wanted a new bicycle with the banana seat and tall handlebars with the ribbons hanging off the handles. These were not cheap and since daddy was a single parent, that meant a single income.

So, what did he do to make me happy? He went to McCarty’s bike shop on Brooklyn Ave. They had some spare parts that they were willing to give him, he bought the new banana seat and out the door he went. When my birthday came around he took me out to the barn and there sat the most beautiful (in my opinion) metallic green bicycle with a banana seat and yes even the ribbons were hanging off the handles! I screamed with joy, hugged him tight and off I went on that bicycle! It wasn’t new. It wasn’t fancy. It was even factory paint because he had painted it himself with left over paint. But it was, in my eyes, absolutely perfect! I loved that bike and spent hours riding it up and down our gravel driveway and down the road.

My husband did the same sort of “thinking outside the box” things for our boys when they were growing up and most recently for our grandson. We kept our grandson for a weekend recently and he has grown so much that he no longer liked the playschool plastic rocking horse because it didn’t move like the bigger one on wheels he has at home. So, what did my husband do? He found a furniture moving base on wheels, attached the plastic horse to it, tied a rope to the front and pulled our grandson down the sidewalk! Our grandson giggled, my husband smiled and I just had to laugh at the sight of it, thinking to myself: “I wonder what the neighbors think?” I decided it didn’t matter because our grandson was happy.

Watching my son grow as a Father himself has been a blessing because I see his father and grandfather in a lot of what he does and says. It makes my heart jump with pride at what an awesome daddy he is becoming.

Young fathers have so much more to worry about in terms of raising children. The world has changed so much even in just the last 20 years. Our son will be 30 this year and when I think back to what it was like when he was young compared to today, I say a prayer for him and my grandson.

Parenthood has never been easy and we should remember that and not be so quick to criticize but rather, we should be willing and able to help or lend a hand to young parents. We should remember the days we were at our wits end as parents just trying to get through the day. We should remember that just a little bit of encouraging words helped lift us up and give us new perspective.

There is an old saying that my Aunt Myrtle used to use: “It takes a village to raise a child”. That doesn’t mean we should be the ones feeding, dressing and taking care of children that do not belong to us, but rather we should be supportive and helpful to those that are.

This Father’s Day, I hope you celebrate the fathers in your life both past and present, let them know how much they mean to you. Let them know that they are doing a good job and that no one is perfect but as long as they love their children and are doing the best they can, God will bless their endeavor.

If you are looking for something different to get your father, grandfather or uncle that will be a blessing to them all year long, come check out the Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County. If they are 50 years of age or better, they can join. You can purchase a gift membership for them.

We have all sorts of activities, events and daily fun. There is something for everyone here.

Until I see you at the Center, have a Blessed Day!

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.

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