Moms are easy - flowers, candy, saying, "I love you" - which is maybe why their loved ones might tend to procrastinate. Dads take a little more planning because flowers don't quite fit the bill. Although candy might. I've always been intrigued by the See's chocolate neckties and recall my husband getting one once, which we all enjoyed.
That's the thing about Father's Day. The gift or celebration is often something that benefits everyone. A young friend of mine said he always visits his dad on Father's Day, as do his siblings, and they all end up going out for a great dinner - paid for by Dad. Which may not seem like much of a present but probably the dad loves it. Or not.
Everywere I turn, I see gift ideas for dad. Sign onto AOL: Send a Father's Day e-card. Go to the car wash: Buy a gift certificate for auto detailing. I hear a lot about adventure gifts for Dad - whitewater rafting trips, racecar driving, skydiving. One ad showed a pair of Old Glory on cufflinks, labeled "for the patriotic dad." Does that mean the men who wear onyx cufflinks are not patriotic? What about those who do not wear cufflinks at all? I shouldn't poke fun at ad writers, I know how easy it is to write something dumb (see above, or below).
Let's admit it. Father's Day is not recognized as widely as Mother's Day. Is that because Mother's Day comes first? No, it's because moms are special in a different way, and we are more sentimental about our moms than our dads, no matter how wonderful they are. Whoever saw a sailor with a tattooed heart and the word "Dad"? Although perhaps that's not the best way to track cultural trends.
My friend Georgia clearly remembered one Father's Day in the 1980s when she presented her dad with one of those wraparound towels that were popular at the time, with a strip of Velcro to keep the towel in place. The ads featured good-looking, youngish men fresh from the shower with their towels wrapped securely around them. The package read "One size fits all," which Georgia's father noted with a wry smile, then proceeded to wrap the towel around him, starting at the back. The towel left a gaping hole of about eight vital inches in front, Georgia said, causing her young boys and the whole family to explode in laughter. "Well, Dad, I guess it doesn't fit your 'all,'" she recalled telling her father.
Are those towels still around? What about soap on a rope, another item widely touted a few decades ago as the perfect gift for the man who has everything. I never understood the attraction of having soap attached to a rope, although it makes a cute rhyme. It may clear room on the shower shelf but it takes up room wherever you hang the rope. As the soap wears away, what happens to the rope? It seems half the bar would be wasted. Did anyone ever use one long enough to find out?
Blackhawk Museum is offering free admission for dads on Father's Day. That would make a great outing - those classic autos are a wonder for everyone to behold, even for a car less-than-enthusiast like me. It's also offering a funshop called "Fathers of Invention" from 1-4 p.m. for ages 3-10 with drop-in activities. Kids can make a Father's Day card, plus a little helicopter guaranteed to fly, and they will hear about Henry Ford's assembly line and the invention of interchangeable auto parts.
My Dad passed away in 2000 at the age of 94. I cannot for the life of me remember what I gave him for one single Father's Day although I'm sure I honored him in some way each year with at least a card. I'm no procrastinator: I already have this year's present for the father of my children, and here it is: "Happy Father's Day, dear!"
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.