When I look at the publication dates of Town&Style for the month of June, I’m always sad if the second issue falls after Father’s Day. It seems like I often miss the chance to talk about dads, but since today is my brother Dennis’ birthday, this column should be all about him. Nope, can’t do 600 words on Dennis; let’s talk dads!
Dads often are portrayed as bumbling, idiotic characters on TV, and that’s just not true. I’ve watched my husband parent our children with so much love (not to say there hasn’t been a time or two where he was a knucklehead). I think if you asked Tess and Jack, they would not trade their dad for anyone else. I now have the pleasure of watching my son parent his own son, and I could not be prouder. He seems to know all of the right words to say at just the right time. And my brothers, what a crew those four fathers are to their children! Each brother parents a little differently, but somehow their children have grown up to be adults who anyone would want in their family. My brother-in-law David is a terrific dad, and it’s apparent when you have the pleasure of meeting his four sons. I have great dads all around me.
Let me tell you about my dad. He hung the moon. Oh, my dad wasn’t a saint. He had some faults, but his youngest daughter (me) managed to overlook them. I was my dad’s favorite, though I suspect my other five siblings might have felt the same way (but really, it was me).
My dad owned a roofing company, Fitzgerald Roofing (which is still in business for those that need a roof or repairs; you will have the pleasure of speaking to my brother Dennis or my nephew Johnny). He ‘inherited’ the company from his dad. Unfortunately, it was not really much of an inheritance since it came with a bunch of debt. But even though he had a family of three at the time, he paid off all the debts while his family went without. He was a proud man and taught us that you honor your obligations. Growing up, my family had what we needed, not what we wanted. All of us had jobs. My five siblings started working when they were 13; I got to wait until 16. We didn’t complain. It’s what you did.
My dad was the person you drank beer with on the back porch. He wanted to know about your life and work, but most of all if you were happy. He always had a good story but liked it even more if you had one that made him laugh. The man loved life. He loved his wife more than anyone else and, without a doubt, he loved his children. Grandchildren were the cherry on top. How he loved to fish with his granddaughters, even naming one of them the Fish Goddess.
Cancer was relentless when it came to my dad. He got it. He beat it. He got it again. He beat it again. He got it a third time, but this time, he lost. Sure, he was in his 80s, but to me, he was far too young to go. So, when Father’s Day comes, I enjoy watching all of the dads being honored, but my heart hurts. On Father’s Day, actually on any day, I wish I could be drinking a beer with my dad on the back porch. I miss him so much.