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The Gillaspie children Wayne, Cleo, and Rex, c. 1948.

the G kids

via Loren Jessup

This May 8th my Dad would have been 84 years old.

Birthdays are important.

To all baby boomers: Call your parents on their birthday.

To all hipsters: Get off your scooter and show your parents you were raised right. Call them.

To all millennials: Follow the boomer lead and call your parents on more days than their birthday.

We may not have the exact number on how long we’ll be together, so make time.

Dad-time seems even shorter. Men don’t live as long as women, but don’t make a big deal of it. They don’t need any reminders that they’ll check out first.

What can you do for your Dad on his birthday?

If he grew up in the country, offer to go chop wood for him. Let him know you’re not a softie. Show him you’re not a town mouse by not chopping yourself.

If he’s got logs and a chainsaw he likes to run, help out. Don’t wear a shirt while you wrestle with the rounds. If you get scratched up and bleed, ignore it until he mentions it.

Then tell him you didn’t notice the scratches and blood. He’ll think you’re either too tough for words, an idiot, or both.

If you’re Dad likes to fish, take him out. Just be sure your gear is already unpacked from the store. Maybe tell a fishing joke:

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish and you’ll never see him on weekends.”

Dad’s a hunter? Take him out, even if it’s target practice. Crank off a few rounds in a safe place and talk about the time he shot a deer out of the passenger window while he was driving and you were sleeping.

Remind him of the time he shot a deer from the front of the boat while you drove. It’s against the law to shoot deer from cars and boats, but the statute of limitations has expired.

Is your Dad a mechanic? Likes to fix things? Break something and take it over for fixing ideas. If he says you’re not smart enough to pour pee out of a boot with the directions on the heel, you know you’ve still got it.

If your Dad is in poor health, talk about losing weight and getting in shape while you’re together. Give him hope that he’s passed good habits down to you, even if he didn’t benefit from them.

Talk about your food choices, how natural and organic food aren’t just for sick people. Reserve commenting on his double bacon cheese burger. You’re not there to ruin his appetite.

What’s a Dad want to see in his son?

1. Treat your mother well.

2. Respect your girlfriend or wife.

3. Speak well of women.

4. Be fair to your kids.

5. Do something each day to make if different than the one before.

If either of your parents choke up and say, “I wish I’d spent more time with my parents when they were older,” you’ll know your actions speak louder than any card can ever say.

Time is funny like that. It drags along when we’re young, then quickens just before it hits warp speed. The age difference seems to compress the older both kids and parents get.

Women might say they look into the mirror now and see their mother. It happens with men, too. If someone says you look more like your mom than you’re dad, it’s not an insult. And don’t use it as an excuse to ask the old man if he’s your real dad.

He might not tell you what you want to hear just for kicks. Dad’s are like that.

Tyler, Grandpa Marshall, Blogger Daddy.

Tyler, Grest-Grandpa Marshall, Blogger Daddy.

About David Gillaspie
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