Sunday, 18th June and the third Sunday of this month is Father's Day in the UK and other countries. The idea of such a day, when Father's are specifically remembered and thought about, originated in the USA as a complement to Mother's Day. It began in the early 20th century and has developed over the years. Has it become like Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and so many others, nothing more than a commercial exercise? What are you doing for your Father this year? Or are you in the same situation as I? You remember your Father every day but would gladly make any sacrifice to spend more time with him, if only he were still in his 'living years'. The photo I have chosen this week was taken at the Ice House Pool, in the Sandwell Valley. My Father never visited it but he was a farmer, an outdoor person who loved nature and the environment. I have many fond memories of time spent with him in similar environments and I know this pool is one that he would have loved. I will be visiting my Father's grave, remembering the many happy times spent with him in my youth, and leaving a plant and flowers. It is in a beautiful rural churchyard. I hope all of you who are able, spend time with your father. To all fathers- enjoy the day.
I, also, thought I'd share an extract with you, from LOVE YOU FOREVER, telling of the morning of Father's Day in 2010, Derek's Day at Haslington Towers.
As far as Derek was concerned there was only one important event in June of any year- HIS DAY! Known to the rest of the country as Father’s Day; it was far more important than any birthday. He looked forward to these annual events and planned every detail of these days; he was the centre of attention.
Sunday, June 20th arrived. It may have been in the middle of football fever but he would declare it a football free day; he would announce it at breakfast and no one would mention it throughout his day. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining when Derek switched his alarm off at 8.00 a.m. Today was the most wonderful day of the year. He assumed Miranda and the twins had gone to church. Sophie and Donny were going to be confirmed in two weeks time and were religiously attending church.
“I shall allow myself the luxury of an extra ten minute relaxation before I greet this beautiful day.” He said aloud. At 8.10 a.m. precisely he got out of bed and ambled across to his bathroom. While shaving he mentally went through his plans for the day. He would be announcing them after he had opened his presents and everything would go like clockwork. It always did in his world. His thoughts were interrupted by an awareness of his hand shaking. He always had a wet shave first thing in the morning; it was more refreshing than a razor. He would use a razor later in the day, if required; stubble was something which was uncomfortable and unacceptable for him.
“Control! Control. This is ridiculous.” He told himself. There had been a few occasions when his right hand appeared to have a mind of its own and sometimes his whole body has started shaking; it had begun on the day his brother died. He remembered the shaking and how he had dropped a glass. Fortunately, it had never occurred during surgery and had never become a serious problem and, as far as he was concerned, it never would be. Once back under control, he continued shaving and getting ready for the day ahead. “Enough. Enough.” He spoke to the mirror. “Today will be perfect.” He dressed in his casual attire of grey trousers and white shirt. He would not wear a tie, but go with this new trend of open-neck shirt and his casual sports jacket.
“Now, I shall go downstairs and listen to some Mozart, I think, before my wonderful children shower me with gifts on this special day.” He was in the music room when he heard Miranda and the twins return from church. The twins went straight upstairs while Miranda stayed in the kitchen. He would give them exactly ten minutes and then he would go into the kitchen where Miranda would have a cup of coffee ready for him. Unknown to him, Scott was also in the kitchen. He had been around for some time and had all ready changed the time on the lounge clock and was thinking about what else he could do to upset Derek.
Ten minutes later, Derek walked into the kitchen where Miranda had his coffee ready and waiting. “Good morning, dearest sister-in-law. How are we are this beautiful Sunday morning? I trust your assignation with our dear Lord was rewarding for you all today. It is two weeks, I believe, until my progeny become full-fledged members of the Christian community. I know my dearest wife would have been delighted to have witnessed such an occasion. You and my dear brother were godparents along with Thomas; a great friend of my father’s who is also sadly departed. Pray tell me, who else, besides yourself will bring them forward for confirmation? Is that my coffee?”
“Oh shut up, Derek.” Scott shouted at him, “You pompous prat, dearest wife, indeed. You made my daughter’s life a misery.”
“Yes, Derek. Reverend Harper has said that I may stand for both of them, as the other two are deceased. There is no need to find other people who have not been involved in their lives.”
“Oh that is indeed, very good news.” He took a sip of his coffee as he heard his children come down the stairs. “Ah good morning Sophie, good morning Donny and how are my two delightful children on this wonderful day? I see you have presents for your father. It is most kind and considerate of you to honour me on this special day. I am truly privileged to have such dutiful and loving children. Your mother would be so proud of you both.” He had observed that they were carrying two beautifully wrapped presents each. That was four gifts just for him.
At the mention of their mother’s name, Sophie choked back tears, forced herself to smile and say, “Good morning, Daddy. May I wish you all the best and every happiness on this your special day.” She kissed him on the cheek and gave him her two parcels and card.
Donny followed her into the room and waited for her to finish her well-rehearsed speech before going up to Derek, “Good morning, Father. I trust you are well this morning and I am looking forward to sharing your special day with you.” He then gave him a further two gifts and card, before shaking his hand. Derek had recently intimated that he expected his son to behave more like a man, than a child now, and shaking hands was more appropriate than kissing on the cheek.
“Orange juice and cereal?” Miranda asked. They all nodded.
Derek was looking at the various shaped articles which lay on the table in front of him. Donny’s was definitely a bottle and something in a rectangular box. Sophie’s were both smaller and soft items. He picked them all up and played with them all, like a child, before saying, “I think I shall open your card greetings first.” He then tore open both of the envelopes and read their most endearing words reassuring him and boosting his ego. He was definitely the best father in the world.
Miranda placed breakfast on the table for them all before sitting down and enjoying her own coffee and cereals.
Derek moved the gifts round the table, “All so beautifully wrapped from my thoughtful children. This one is most obviously a bottle of some description from you, Donny. I shall open it first.” Having made that decision he carefully, precisely and slowly unwrapped it, savouring the moment and the attention as his audience were all waiting with eager anticipation.
“Oh get on with it, Derek.” Scott shouted.
“Ah, a delightful bottle of champagne, a Moët Impérial, a most delicious vintage and one that I adore but I trust you did not make the purchase yourself.” Derek looked over his glasses at his son.
“Of course not, Father. I asked Aunty M. to purchase it because I know how much you enjoy it. I thought that as today is your special day, perhaps we could drink it with dinner and Sophie and I could have a small amount with you.”
Such a request caused Derek’s jaw to drop and he gasped. Was his son actually requesting to drink champagne at dinner? Then he remembered how he had explicitly informed him that he expected him to behave like a man; he was no longer a child. Miranda also gasped and with baited breath waited for Derek’s reply.
“Well, young man, I see no reason why you should not begin to acquire the taste of a good alcoholic beverage on such an auspicious occasion. You and your sister may have half a glass each with dinner supplemented by water.”
“Wow, Derek. Go mad. Why don’t you? Half a glass of champagne each.” Scott glared at him.
Donny smiled. He was handling his father well! Miranda stared in disbelief and decided that he may have changed his mind by the evening.
“Now, to my next gift. Ah, this smaller one from Sophie, I think.” He slowly unwrapped the paper and was delighted with the black leather wallet. “Sophie, my darling daughter, this is just what I need, a new wallet. Thank you so much.”
“Yes Daddy. I noticed your present one is looking rather worn.”
“Ah, such an observant young lady. Now, I think I shall take this interesting rectangular box from Donny.” Once again, he prolonged the removal of the paper for as long as possible before revealing a luxury electric wine bottle opener gift set.
“What an unusual, but most welcome gift. I have never seen one of these before. Where did you make the purchase?”
“On the Internet of course. It came from America.”
“Ah naturally, the Americans would produce such an item. My last present before I announce our schedule for today.”
He took even longer to unwrap his last gift from Sophie which was a King of the Barbie apron and chef hat set. His face glowed as he thought of wearing it at his next barbecue. His colleagues would be so impressed because he really was the ‘king’ when it came to giving a barbecue.“Sophie, this is superb and just what I require for my stupendous barbecues.”
“Yes Daddy,” was all she could utter from behind her fake smile.
“Now, to today’s itinerary. There will be no mention of this awful football. I have declared the day a football free day. We shall have brunch at 11.00 a.m.” He looked at Miranda, who nodded. “We shall leave at 12.30 p.m. and visit Chatsworth. I love the gardens and the Park; we shall stroll for about an hour and then we will continue our exciting day by driving to Bakewell and having afternoon tea at the The Original Bakewell Pudding shop in the Square. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Well Dressing at Youlgreave before we return home for dinner and champagne.”
All the best for Sunday,