RT Cunningham


Father’s Day is Coming - This is the Last Time I’ll Mention it

Father's Day Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Like I did on Mother’s Day, I stole that line from Wikipedia.

Yes, I know it’s about a month early, but I want to give my two sons (Joe and Jon) an advance warning because they’re both forgetful. Joe shouldn’t forget because he’s a father as well, but you never know. Jon, well, he forgets everything.

Father’s Day and Gifts

I don’t mind getting gifts from my children but I don’t expect them to give me anything. I mean, what can they give me that I don’t already have (or need), other than cold, hard cash? It’s kind of hard for any type of traditional gift because none of us live in the same country. The only think I really want is a Father’s Day greeting without having to remind either of them.

Way back when, a necktie was a popular Father’s Day gift. These days, though, how many men still wear neckties? Especially after retirement? Many a television sitcom routine revolved around neckties back in the 70s and probably the 80s as well. Somehow, I don’t think it would be even close to funny today.

My children have their own families now. I expect them to take care of their families and not worry about me. My wife, Josie, she’s of a different mind about the matter and I’ll leave it at that.

Unlike my father, I want to tell my children and any descendant who cares, everything they might want to know about me. My father told me very little about his life before I was born.

Remembering My Father

My father passed away in 2009 at the age of 85. I know I forgot more Father’s Day anniversaries with him than I remembered and I really regret it. I didn’t live close to my parent’s home and you know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”.

My father was born in Oklahoma and that he was a migrant worker, like his siblings. At some point the family moved to Arizona but I don’t know why. It’s possible it had something to do with the dust bowl, but I guess I’ll never know now since most of his siblings have passed away. They may all be deceased by now, but I have no way of knowing. Nobody living in the United States, who would know, tells me anything.

I know the government drafted him into the U.S. Army when he was 19. World War II was still raging on. He was a military police officer and reached the rank of corporal before being transferred to the infantry. He carried a bazooka in France (and buried it when he buried a foxhole) and shot himself in the foot once. I saw the scar.

I know he was a prisoner of war for the last three months of World War II. He told me how the prisoners would eat anything that moved and grew (rats, grass, weeds, whatever) when there was barely enough to feed the guards with real food. This was after the allied forces interrupted the German supply lines.

That’s about it. I heard anecdotal stories (very brief) at the dinner table over the years, but I don’t remember any of it. I don’t want my children and grandchildren knowing that little about me. Perhaps this is one of the things that inspired me to start working on our family tree.

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By RT Cunningham
May 17, 2017
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