Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Celebrating family makes Father's Day extra special

If you look up all the official holidays, there is probably one for every day in the year.

You can hardly think of anything that ever happened that doesn’t have a holiday to mark the occasion.

Some special days, solemn and otherwise, are commemorated by weeks, and even months, to celebrate them and remind us of their importance.

I am thinking, for example, of National Pickle Week. You may be thinking of something else. I don’t blame you. I wasn’t even thinking of it myself until it popped into my mind less that a minute ago.

We have just celebrated many wonderful holidays, and we have many more coming up over the summer. But one of the most significant days of all – right up there alongside Mother’s Day and Sweetest Day – is one that brings tears of joy to my eyes.

And no, I don’t have any allergies. They are real tears. I am talking about Father’s Day. It is a day which we mark with a breakfast gathering, exchanges of thousands of pleasantries and many hugs and kisses.

And promises to keep in touch.

I have two darling daughters, and the lady of the house tells me that I do not call them as often as I should.

She may be right, but I also insist that mothers are much more apt to keep in constant touch with their offspring than are fathers.

I plead guilty. So from now on I will reach out across the miles and call them more often. Actually, there are not that many miles to cross. My younger daughter, Kim, lives about seven houses away, and it was she who found the house of our dreams one day when she was out walking her dog and saw the “For Sale” sign.

We lived in a much more complicated house, and with only dogs and cats and no more children at home, we were looking for something on one level.

When Kim found it, we looked at it, made an offer, and within days we had called the moving van.

Thus began a two-year adventure. That was eight or nine years ago, the bottom immediately fell out of the real estate market, and for two years I owned two houses, was mowing two lawns, paying two water, gas and electric bills and having the insurance company threaten to quadruple my insurance bill because the house was not occupied.

The day our former house was sold was one of the happier occasions in my life.

My other daughter, Diane, lives farther away. She lives on a lovely street near the Willoughby cemetery. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we all live in Willoughby, within a few minutes of each other. Nobody is more than five minutes away.

That closeness is ideal for celebrating holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and, of course, Father’s Day.

This year we held our Father’s Day breakfast at Burgers ‘n Beer in Downtown Willoughby. Now, my brother and I have breakfast there every Sunday, except when the Lions Club is holding a pancake breakfast in Willoughby Hills. All we needed at B’nB last Sunday was a larger table. It was nice having the two girls there.

They are hardly “girls” any more, however. They are both married and have families of their own. But in spite of how much Deborah Foley, the head lady at United Way, hates my use of the word “girls” when I refer to grown women, in my heart they will always be my little girls.

Kim brought her husband, Dan, and their son, Brian, to breakfast. I always remember Brian, who has grown up into a large man, as the slugging first baseman of his Little League team who, along with Tommy Foster, terrorized, the other teams – especially the pitchers.

Diane brought her husband, Lou, although none of their three kids came with them.

The kids all have very productive jobs. The two hard-working boys, Louie and Kenny, are both union laborers who work underground in Cleveland and support their families handsomely. Their daughter, Destiny, is a graduate of Lake Erie College who works in Cleveland as an editor and who once had her picture on the Jumbotron on Times Square in New York City for working a year without making an error.

Lou and Diane have four grandchildren (those would be my great-grandkids) and I don’t have space to mention them all. I have to tell you, though, that one of them, Angelina, is in the Willoughby-Eastlake program for exceptionally bright kids and was just inducted into the National Honor Society.

It’s having kids like mine that make Father’s Day worthwhile. I hope your holiday was equally as enjoyable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay !!! I can finally read your column online. It's about time, although I don't know exactly when it first started appearing on the internet. Always great to read your musings.

June 25, 2014 at 7:13 AM 

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