My Dad must have been so disappointed in me every time he opened his Father's Day gift from his youngest daughter.
But he never said he was disappointed or let on that my gift wasn’t much of an offering for such a special occasion.
In the good spirit of a loving parent he accepted the homemade cards with crayon scratches across the paper and stick people representing Dad, Mom and Kid (me) with sometimes another grouping of figures that might or might not have been a dog or cat.
As my homemade-making gift talent developed, he received a treasure box made from Popsicle sticks, a bird made from assorted rocks and feathers found in the yard, a larger decorated rock meant as a paper weight, and just for the office, a nail driven through a chunk of wood — of course that was to keep his important papers close at hand at the oil shed.
When I had some money of my own from the $18 monthly payment the parents received for me from the federal government, I was able to come up with some amazingly clever and thoughtful presents.
Army and Navy always had the most economical bargains for anyone with limited financial resources. A pair of socks for 50 cents was a bargain not to be ignored so year after year he received dress socks, socks that he only wore on Sundays and with his suits. On other days he wore heavy wool socks with white tops and red toes. But they were more expensive and not in my budget.
Kresge had packages of handkerchiefs for an affordable price but upon reflection, I knew he wouldn’t use them, and my Mom wouldn’t be happy to wash them if used for the nose-blowing job. So instead I got him a four-pack of mini disposable Kleenex tissues, handy for the back pocket or the glove compartment of the gas truck or school bus. My ingenuity knew no limits.
Back at the Army & Navy men’s wear department, ties were in my budget, those fashion accessories being priced at no more than $2 from the sales table. They were mostly ugly but I found the least ugly of the display and low and behold, the store threw in a gift box at no extra charge. I don’t recall Dad ever wearing that tie but it was my thought that counted.
Once I was out on my own and then married, gifts for Father’s Day grew more expensive but I’m not sure he enjoyed them any more than the ugly tie or the wood with a nail through it. One year we took him to a fancy restaurant to celebrate His day and while the food was likely excellent, his comment to the stuffy server about paying the light bill so he could read the menu stuck with me. Mom shushed him and Dad grinned.
He enjoyed the cable television gift, the musical cassette tapes of his favourite musicians, tickets to see the Carlton Showband concerts, barbecue tools, a roll-up fishing rod, pieces of wood for his woodworking hobby, a handyman’s metal table with gadgets that we didn’t recognize and Father’s Day dinners at Bonanza.
One of this year’s top-selling Father’s Day gift is a gizmo that teaches 43 languages. Dad had languages all His own, not that we ever attempted to translate them but we knew when Mom said, “Oh Casey,” we’d better pretend not to have heard.
Other 2021 suggested gifts with potential include the personalized pocket knife and the five-in-one grilling tool which serves as a spatula, fork, knife, tenderizer and bottle opener.
He might have enjoyed the photo necktie, with photos of his spouse, kids and grandchildren. He probably wouldn’t have worn it but he might have looked at the photos.
The monogrammed socks made me laugh as did the cotton sleeping shorts. Dad would have been disgusted with both of those items.
So maybe the Popsicle stick box and the nail through the piece of wood weren’t such disappointing gifts after all.
Joyce Walter can be reached at email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.