I hope children and wives will treat the dads in their lives like kings this Father’s Day. Growing up, ties and after shave cologne were common gifts, but dad seemed to like the ones my brother and I made the best. Even if it was a card, he would save the note.

As I grew older, my college part time job enabled me to buy even better presents–at least I thought so. One year when I bought my father a Calvin Klein monogrammed shirt, he opened it and said, “Uh oh, we better go find Calvin. He’s walking around in a Jim Lewis shirt”!

After getting married, I found out that my father-in-law shared the same birthday as my father. So that meant that I bought the same thing, just different colors for my dad and father-in-law for both Father’s Day and their birthday. It was like dressing twins alike. Once again, I liked it–not sure how they really felt.

My father died when he was just 52 years old. I console myself with the reminder that while 52 is indeed young, and there was so much more I wanted to share with my dad, I HAD AN INCREDIBLE FATHER! And those 31 years of my life were outstanding because of him. There are many people, particularly women who didn’t grow up with the nurturing hand of a father. They didn’t grow up with a man to show them what to expect out of marriage, how to be treated and how to be taken care of by a man.

Not only was he there to show me what I should expect from a man, he taught me much of my business acumen. As he put it, “school teaches you fundamentals in a perfect world. You graduate with a box of phenomenal analytical tools. Now it is up to me [as your first employer] to teach you how and when to employ them. It’s up to me to teach you how to feel it in your gut and to be motivated by those well calculated gut feelings.” I don’t think I could have gotten better training from anyone else other than my dad.

When my mother died and joined her husband in heaven, my brother and I divided her possessions and sold her house.  As the mass of video tapes were concerned, Jeff took all the Star Wars video tapes, and I took some unmarked videos with the intention of going through them and labeling them if not disposing of them. Well, you know how that goes. I tucked them away, and out of sight, out of mind. Recently I decided to make it a point to go through them while walking on the treadmill. I knew one of them was the video tape that my father took during my wedding shower. And so I carefully marked that one and now my intention is to copy it to DVD.

There were several 1980s Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda exercise videos–hilarious. I found a DVD of my mother in a public speaking course at Ford Motor Company, precious. And then there it was. A video tape of my graduate school graduation. My father was operating the camera and I got a chance to eavesdrop on his conversations with whomever he was talking to while videotaping. The Michigan Spring Commencement is held in the Big House and my dad came down on the field to get a close up shot of me and a classmate. Then he went back to his seat. On the video tape, I could hear my mother directing him, “There she is, waving”. As he combed the sea of graduates, he asked, “where? Is she still waving?”

The next scene was at my open house. Tired from his videotaping at the graduation, Dad decided to put the camera  on the tripod and just let it run.  Now I was able to eavesdrop on lots of conversations.

One that I play over and over again is my cousin asking my father, “So now that she’s graduated, what’s she going to do”? My dad quickly answered with excitement, “She’s going to come and work for me. I’ve got a whole list of things for her to get started on.” I wasn’t at all surprised that my father was proud of me–after all he told me so as a child, as an adult and as an employee. What was so special was listening to him tell others.

The end of the video tape was my father recording the contents of their home for insurance purposes. What would have otherwise been a boring video became exciting when my father walked in front of the glass door and I was able to see his reflection.

Remember Dads, it’s not the big things, but the lasting love, pride and

direction that you give that makes a difference.

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