Ask Not What Your Dad Can Do For You . . .

Even if that's $2,495, it's not a bad price.

Father’s Day snuck up on me again this year. My husband’s birthday is in May, so I just squeeze past that gift-buying quagmire and  - what the hell - it’s June already? Didn’t we just have a Father’s Day? Isn’t that what Sundays are?

I never know what to get him for Father’s Day. I can’t push this off on the kids. They’re still trying to think of something to buy him for Christmas six years ago.

How can I be expected to excel at this kind of thing? I grew up without a dad for the bulk of my childhood, so What to Buy for Father’s Day wasn’t high on the list of decisions to make.  Occasionally my grandfather would come over for dinner. One year my sister Kathy bought him a carton of cigarettes for a gift. Nice family, the Laneys, but this is not the Cleavers here, so I face Father’s Day as an adult mom with little to go on.

The fathers in my neighborhood were no help. Stewart Avenue didn’t have three decent male role models among them. Lots of drinkers, a couple wife cheaters, wife beaters, kid beaters, lots of kid grounders, and a lot of old guys who sat on their front porches yelling at everyone to keep off the grass you rotten kids. When we met kids from other neighborhoods who had dads, we thought they were rich. Dads with jobs, well, those kids probably had pink princess phones in their bedrooms, too.

But these are different times, a different generation, a new sun is rising, a new dawn is breaking, blah, blah, blah. Dads now have degrees, jobs, unrestricted driver’s licenses, clean records, all their organs and limbs, and hobbies. There should be a cornucopia of things to buy them for Father’s Day that don’t require a note from your mom or a valid ID. 

So then why did I buy my husband a lawn chair that I knew would never make it out of the box? 

I could count on one hand the number of gifts I’ve bought him that were worth keeping. I bought him a nice 35mm camera in 1985. I had a professional photo taken of the kids and me and framed it in the mid ‘90s. And in 2001 I had one of those Asian guys in the middle of the mall do a pencil drawing montage of the three kids doing sports, and framed it for his office.

Yeah, that’s about it. And none of those were for Father’s Day. They were all Christmas or birthday gifts. Two years ago on Father’s Day I got him a Neil Diamond CD set and within minutes of the unwrapping, I took it from him, put it in the car, kissed him goodbye and left for a trip to New Jersey for 12 days. He got to listen to Cracklin’ Rosie in early August.

The lawn chair will be great. Yeah. He really liked it when he found it in the dining room corner on Saturday about mid afternoon. 

Wrapping has never been one of my strong suits, either.