|Left to Right: Cousin Roger, Mark, Dennis and Dad.|
The worst gifts that I have ever given anyone were always given on the third Sunday in June. Dad got every one of ‘em.
Let’s face it, Dad was the hardest person in the world to shop for. It didn’t help that all we had to spend on him was the allowance he gave us. He never gave us much, but it was generally more than he could afford. Dennis and I generally pooled what we got, and we still couldn’t come up with anything good to get him.
You’re way ahead of the game if your Dad has a bunch of hobbies. Or maybe some bad habits. Maybe he drinks a lot. Back in my day, a couple of bucks could buy you a bunch of hooch. Booze, fire water, the hard stuff. A couple of kids on the next block could’ve set us right up. But, unfortunately, Daddy didn’t drink.
He did chew tobacco and smoke cigars, though. Started chewing tobacco at the age of seven. I think he took up cigars because Aunt Mary wouldn’t allow chewing tobacco in the house.
I’m fairly certain that tobacco is what led to Dad’s death at an early age. I’m six months older than Dad was when he died. I don’t know what’s going to eventually get me, but it’s not going to be tobacco, giggle water or over-exercise. It’ll probably be something I ate… a lot of.
Having said that, I must tell you that Dennis and I did get Dad some cheap cigars and Mail Pouch brand chewing tobacco a couple of times. This was back when kids could buy tobacco for their parents. Back when tobacco was good for you. Dennis and I could get a bag of Mail Pouch for a quarter and a bunch of King Edward or Prince Edward or some Edward guy cigars for a dollar. You can’t beat a deal like that.
The only hobby Dad had was golf. I guess it’s considered a hobby. I know he never got paid for it. Dad did enjoy his golf. I’m so glad he had something to enjoy. Some place to go where he could escape his responsibilities for half a day. When you’re responsible for eight other people, you’ve really got a bear to load, uh, a hoe to row… you’ve got problems.
So, sometimes Dennis and I tried to get Dad something golf related. Golf balls make a good gift. Back then you could get one Titliest for a dollar. Titliests were the best. May still be. I haven’t bought a golf ball in 20 years. Dad liked Titliests, but we always got him a brand known as PoDo.
You could get three PoDo’s for the price of one Titliest. PoDo’s were the cheapest unused golf balls in the world. The name itself screamed “CHEAP!”
Why would anyone with a hint of business sense come up with such a lousy name for a product? – “Well, Frank, we could call it ‘Stratosphere’ or ‘Warp Drive’ or ‘Laser Fire.’” – “No, no, I’ve got it! PoDo!”
One year we got Dad a little clicker to help him keep up with his golf score. He acted like he really liked the counter, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t. Losing count of your strokes is how you imporove.
A couple of times we actually tried to buy Dad some clothes. We never got him a necktie, ‘cause he already had two. One wide and one less wide. I don’t think the man ever bought a shirt in his life. Mom did all the shopping for him. I’m not sure he had much of an opinion about styles.
Seems like we bought him socks a time or two. Back then you could get a whole wad of socks for a dollar. Bad ones. No elastic. None. I think they made ‘em out of leftover shirtsleeves.
Yeah, Dad got some lousy gifts for Fathers Day. But, he never seemed to mind. He was always such a good receiver of stuff. I think most dads are.
Dads learn not to expect. You could’ve cancelled Fathers Dad and I doubt Daddy would’ve noticed. – “You don’t say? How many years back did they cancel it?”
Bottom line, I wouldn’t worry so much about what you got your father for Dads Day.. I'm sure he acted like he loved it, regardless. Truth is, he probably consider the hug you gave him as the best part of the gift. It’s just the way dads are made.