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Fatherhood, the much maligned institution, mocked by militant feministas, written off by know-it-all sophisticates, survives.

Yes, some fathers are drunks and abusers and lay-abouts but those are the exceptions.

Sometimes I think that half the world's social/economic problems would disappear overnight if good fathering would be the rule. Sad to say, but African-Americans are especially needy for strong male role-models.

Best wishes to all Dads. Good Fatherhood is difficult but is its own reward.

-- (lars@indy.net), June 16, 2002


Thank you son. Now go mow the lawn and bring me a brewski.

-- (Tim Allen@Home.Improvements), June 16, 2002.

Fatherhood, the much maligned institution, mocked by militant feministas, written off by know-it-all sophisticates, survives.

EXCUSE ME...But being a feminist does not make for a lack of love and/or respect for Fathers. My Dad was the best man in the world as far as I am concerned, and it was ususally Dad's who raised their Daughters to be their own prson, or free to be whomever we wanted to be.

Happy Father's Day to all of those other great Dads out there!

Screw the media who like to have sitcoms putting down Fathers (must be written by men who resent or could not live up to their Dads), they sure aren't written by strong women who learned so much and were cared for so lovenly by their Fathers.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), June 16, 2002.

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

Remember that T-shirt Cherri? But you're right, I overgeneralized and should have said that some feminists mocked fatherhood. I hope that attitude was left in the 70s.


-- (lars@indy.net), June 17, 2002.

Many belated thanks, Dad

By Brian McGrory, Globe Columnist, 6/14/2002

It was the bottom half of the last inning of the final game of the year, two outs, bases loaded, down by one run, the stuff of which dreams, or more appropriately nightmares, are made. Victory meant a spot in the playoffs, defeat led to next year.

He stepped to the plate, a tentative 10-year-old rookie looking anxiously at the hardest throwing 12-year-old pitcher in Little League.

He promptly struck out on three pitches. He was just getting his bat around on the last fastball as the other team was carrying the pitcher triumphantly off the field. Not a day has passed in the 30 years since in which he hasn't wondered why the coach didn't have the good sense to pinch-hit for him.

Afterward, as he carried his failure to the car like a leaden cross, his father met him on the top of the hill on which he sat for every game.

''The guy next to me didn't even know you were my son,'' the father told him. ''And he said, `Boy, if this kid ever gets a hold of one that ball is out of the park.'''


So maybe the boy just needed to adjust a few things. Maybe he just needed to step into the ball more. Maybe he just needed a little more practice. And that's what they did, that very night, father and son, on a floodlit back patio. By the time they got to the Dairy Queen, the kid was convinced - foolishly so, it ends up - that the next season would be the best.

Which brings me, belatedly, to the point. Sunday is Father's Day, a time of cheap ties or power tools destined for a place of honor in a corner of the garage.

But amid the ceremony and Hallmark triviality of it all, take a moment and face an irrefutable fact: Fathers, unfortunately, are perishable, and the sad reality is that the day he's gone is the day you appreciate him most.

My own father was a man of extraordinarily modest needs, perfectly content to while away the night with a newspaper spread across his lap and a box of Levaggi's fudge at his side as he watched the Red Sox lose another game on our TV in the breezeway .

When I was a teenager, he taught me how to hit 5-irons at Ponkapoag. Actually, he taught me how to sneak onto Ponkapoag as well. He'd regularly convince me to accompany him on work trips to Nantasket Beach by promising to stop by Paragon Park - a promise never actually fulfilled.

Cheap? Moths flew out of his wallet when he'd hand me a $10 bill as I headed back to college. Then he'd whisper, ''Don't tell your mother about this and she might even give you more.''

When I sent newspaper clips home from early jobs in New Haven and Washington, it was my father who pored over every line of every mundane story. When I wrote my first words for the Globe some 13 years ago, it was my father who met the paperboy at the door and fought back tears as he read them. I never actually remember him being mad.

He died almost 12 years ago after a battle with cancer that whittled away at his health but never his trademark humor. And now I'm quite certain that I never properly thanked him for all the examples set, for the traits inherited, for the occasional droplets of advice that fell from a wonderfully ordinary life. How could I have? How could I not have?

Mark Twain purportedly said, ''When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.''


Fathers do their work in the shadows of parenthood. They are, by far, the less appreciated of the two, even as one study after another details the almost mystical impact that an active father can have on a child's life.

So just a modest suggestion. If you have a moment on Sunday or any other day, let your appreciation be known. There are sons and daughters everywhere who wish they still had the chance.

Brian McGrory can be reached at mcgrory@globe.com.

My Dad would stand next to me when I puked when I was sick. When I was 14 and decided to drink a cup of burbon and eat a big dish of icecream while watching "nightmare theater" and sat at the bottom of the stairs sick as hell, he told me to stick my head in the toilet. After he introduced me to coffee and explained how to drink. On weekends we would play scrabble and drink, he showed me how to monitor how much I drank, when to stop for a while, and control my intake. (In the USAF I could drink any guy under the table and still not get drunk.

When I was 9 he helped me make a circuit for show and tell, explaining electron flow, opens and shorts. At the age of three he let me play with his O'scope, showing me how to use the knobs to change the "picture". He would crack open a tube, a little vacume tube and let me take it apart, explaining what every little part did and how they worked together to get the desired results. I would bring him coffee (daughters bring their Daddies coffee, Mommy said, not brothers, being the only girl made it my job) I would sit and watch whathe was doing and ask questions.

What's that Daddy? "It's a resistor". Why are there colors on it Daddy? "Each color is a number. So at 10 I learned the littany "Bad boys rape our young girls but violet gave willingly" In the 5th grade I built as complicated circuit, all by myself, he didn't tell me what I did wrong when it didn't work, he asked questions which made me think and figure it out (troubleshoot) it myself. Mommy was mad because I wasn't doing dishes, Dad told her to have one of my brothers do it, I was busy helping him change the brake shoes on the car.

Daddy, they won't let me in the electronics class at school, I complained in high school. He made a call. I got into the class, the first girl to do so.
A few years later I called him at work to make sure I had ohms law right. That night he told me I had gone down and taken the test to join the USAF, hadn't I?

I was one of the first women in electronics in the USAF. He and Mom came to visit me while I was TDY in California one time, I took him for a ride in the B-52. We could talk without words, it would only take a look between us.

When I was young he didn't express himself to us easaly, there came a time about 20 years ago when he said he loved me. after that he always told me he loved me, and even though I was in my 40's, after I left their house I had to call when I got home to let him know I made it ok. (He also wanted to know how long it took as I had learned the how to meet and beet the lights and speed a little, but could not seem to beat my 7 minute time.

It has been only 1 1/2 years since he died, but I miss him beyond words.

Fathers are wonderful, I know some Fathers arent great, but mine was the best and Fathers day hurts like hell without my Dad.

Maybe the powers thabe should stop putting Fathers down in commercials and sitcoms, they don't deserve to be portrayed as a joke, they are too important to us.

-- Cherri (whatever@who.cares), June 17, 2002.

Gloria Steinem got married....to a man!

-- (pink@pink.pink), June 17, 2002.

Good column Cherri and personal tribute too. Yeah, Dads can be as important to daughters as to sons. (I'm not diminishing moms by saying that). My own Dad was a cool guy but too often AWOL from the family. I didn't find out til adulthood that "working late" meant he was staying in NYC to drink and God knows what. He never drank at home, never abused anyone and paid all the bills. But he didn't teach me good stuff like your Dad did. All the cliches applied in our family----denial, enabling. Dad died at age 59. I never really knew him.

-- (lars@indy.net), June 17, 2002.

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