Weather Forecast


Dad: a surprisingly complicated creature

Father's Day cards define dads by six basic topics -- sports, lawn care, tools, beer, recliners and the remote control. While a chord of truth can generally be struck with most dads on at least one of these themes, the punch lines don't tell the whole story.

A dad is a very complicated creature.

My dad can pound out a knife in the belly of his fiery forge. He can also roll out a perfect, tender crust for a melt-in-your-mouth apple pie.

He spends hours mowing the lawn with his big, floppy hat on to protect him from the sun, but he wouldn't dream of harming one hair on the heads of the little striped gophers that pop holes into his grassy masterpiece when his animal-loving daughter-in-law is around.

If the "clicker" is in his hands it stops to the tune of Chuck Norris, commercials with the Aflac duck, Bob Ross painting a "happy little tree," the "Lawrence Welk Show," Fox News Channel and Paula Deen baking something up with lots of "budda." On New Year's Eve he likes to watch Walter Cronkite's New Year's from Vienna featuring "The Blue Danube" waltz.

Dad isn't a sports nut, except when it concerns his beloved Boston Red Sox. The favorite team for this New England native must be at least 10 runs ahead in each inning for him to be a happy viewer, though. He loves to watch the Twins lose.

No, this is not a simple man. I've known him for quite a few years now and he is still full of surprises. Recently, this meat and potatoes eater who sops up juice from the steak platter with a slice of white bread took a second helping of a dish I made with bok choy and Japanese soba noodles.

Dads do lots of things to surprise you and make you proud.

Sometimes Dad's talents are hit and miss, though. He is surprisingly good at picking out clothes for Mom without her having to try them on. But he also once got my slim, size 8 sister an extra-large men's sweatshirt so it would "fit her in the shoulders." And, no, it most certainly did not fit.

Fortunately for the sake of funny family stories, the things that make you proud can make you laugh, too.

I was proud when he told his stories at my elementary school and the teacher introduced him as "the great storyteller." His big voice could be put to more mortifying effect, though. When in a large, open space such as a parking lot he's often felt the need to stop, cup his hands and hoot like an owl. When he sneezes it just about takes the house down.

Men may be stereotyped as the simpler sex, but behind their uncomplicated love of lawn mowing, TV watching and a comfortable chair are layers of unexpected talents and interests.

You've got to admire a man who can whip up fancy crepes with strawberries and cream one day and put an egress window in the basement the next.