My sister had a squirrel in her basement this past weekend. She did what any sensible person would do under the circumstances. She called her father.
My dad is full of good advice which he will offer freely whether you ask for it or not. My sister and I have compared his brain to a rock polisher. A casual conversation will deposit the rough, unpolished idea into my father’s brain where it will be gently tumbled around for hours or even days at a time. Unless you know my father well, you may not even hear the quiet sound of advice being slowly rolled around in his methodical head until, without warning, the tumbling will stop and a perfectly polished solution will be presented to you.
My father’s advice will usually begin with, â€œYou know, what you ought to do is…â€ and a meticulously crafted solution will be presented, glinting in the sunshine.
Father’s Day is around the corner and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that it tends to get the short end of the stick. We make a big deal out of Mother’s Day, as well we should. Mother’s Day is about flowers and lofty sentiments and giving mom a break from cooking. But Father’s Day seems a little as if it was tacked on the calendar as an afterthought in the interest of giving dads equal time. We sort of stuff our hands in our pockets and don’t have a lot to say.
My father was not around to answer his cell phone this weekend so my sister was forced to deal with the uninvited squirrel on her own. She was a little annoyed, as she knew he would have had a solution more elegant than hers, which was to terrorize the poor creature for a half hour until it found a safe hiding spot to elude her, then poke it with a stick, and ultimately construct a bridge made of evergreen bows from the floor to a basement window to encourage its eventual escape.
My father would have had a better solution.
One of the the adaptations I have had to make in my relationship with Daniel is getting used to his notion that a person should not offer unsolicited advice. I find this hard to understand. A conversation in my family would stall out if we were not able to offer unsolicited advice to one another. Fortunately for Daniel, this prohibition does not apply to fathers, and he is one.
We went to visit Daniel’s son, Ethan, in his new apartment over the weekend. Ethan is in college and has two roommates, twenty-one-year-old men like himself. We gave him more than an hour’s advance notice and the apartment looked suspiciously clean when we arrived. I was surprised to learn that the kitchen contains no dishes and is not used for any actual food preparation, but is a great place to keep an oversized aquarium filled with tropical fish.
I watched the fish while Daniel dispensed some unsolicited advice. Ethan sat smiling in his peculiarly clean living room and was obviously just happy to know that he was the object of his father’s concern.
I’m guessing he was thinking pretty much the same thing I am thinking this Father’s Day.
â€œThanks for worrying about me, Dad. Thanks for offering advice on plumbing and real estate and relationships and unwanted wildlife in the basement. Thanks for calling back two days later, still thinking about me. Thanks for letting me know that you are always there, always caring, always concerned.â€
Till next time,