Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 1989

Dad only went to church on occasion.  One of those "on occasions" was Father's Day 1989.

The church was one I did Bible quizzing with, a little more on the upscale side than those churches in my hometown.

As is custom in some congregations, all fathers were given a small gift.  Most churches I've attended will give a "soap on a rope" which my dad used to leave in the car for a few months until the summer sun made the "Wild Forest" scent a little much and Mom or I would move the box with the corded soap to a box of things to sell when we would have a garage sale.

Father's Day 1989, however, was a bit different.  The church handed out small wrapped gifts to each dad. Inside each was a tire gauge.  I was sitting with the teenagers and we were passing this picture of Dad down through the pew and each of us were trying to keep from laughing as it came to us.  (Passing pictures was as popular as passing notes, and often just as entertaining.)


I was passing a note to the pastor's son to tell him "That's my grandmother's dog upside down with it's legs in the air" when I noticed a lull in the proceedings.

Pastor K was going on "Someone must have it!  It is just a small piece of paper taped to the package that says 'Happy Father's Day'. "

Unknown to me, Mom was nudging Dad to raise his hand.  More description as to how "Happy Father's Day" was written from the pulpit.

Dad slightly slipped up his left index finger.  This was a standard greeting to people.  Like "We're #1" except he wouldn't raise his hand in the air to do so, only about shoulder height unless he was driving and then he would keep his hand on the wheel and "wave" by raising a digit or two.

Pastor K seemed THRILLED to find that someone really had won the big prize for the day.

Dad had to go to the pulpit to collect his winnings.  It was a $20 gift certificate to a local steak house.  Instead of "Thank you", my dad bellowed, "ALLLLLL RIGHHHHHTTTT!"

Dad left the pulpit area to resume sitting with Mom.  I was receiving a note from a friend that said, "Maybe he will start coming to church more often."  I glanced up and saw Dad high-five a deacon on his way back to his pew.

My last Father's Day with Dad was in 2006.  His gift that year came from my recent trip to Israel -- a Pittsburgh Steeler's t-shirt in Hebrew.  But I will never forget the year he high-fived a deacon visiting a church in which he barely knew anyone.  We laughed about that for years, and I still do.

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