Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. Although my father passed away 16 years ago, I’m thankful for him and the influence he had in my life.

I’m very grateful for my husband, the father of our children. Pete, you have been a wonderful dad, and I’m so thankful that you have been a strong spiritual leader, a mentor and a faithful provider. God has blessed our lives greatly through you.

Most of all, I’m thankful for Jesus Christ, my heavenly Father. He truly is a loving and good Father. I’m so glad that He not only blesses me but is there to correct me when I need it or turn me around if I start heading in the wrong direction. That’s love!!

First Father’s Day Family Portrait

Wonder of all wonders!  I saw Randall fly to the nest and was able to get a shot of the whole family together. Keep in mind that it’s not the greatest, because I was indoors and shooting through the window. From left to right are baby Francis(es) Dale Mourning Dove, Sophie and Randall.  Randall was only there for less than a minute when Sophie took off.  Perhaps young Francis(es) and Randall will have a little father-child bonding time today.  Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there!

edit: June 16th a.m. – As I was looking through the binoculars this morning, I saw not one, but two baby birds.  That Sophie is just full of surprises!  Now we’ll have to come up with a name for the other baby.

History of Father’s Day

This is from an e-mail I received from American Minute.  It's a brief history of Father's Day.

American Minute with Bill Federer
June 19

The first formal “Father’s Day” was celebrated June 19, 1910.
It began in Spokane, Washington, when a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd
heard a Mother’s Day sermon at church. She wanted to honor her father, who
raised six children by himself after his wife died.
Sonora drew up a petition that was supported by the Young Men’s Christian
Association and the ministers of Spokane.
President Nixon established Father’s Day as a permanent national observance in
1972.
On Father’s Day, 1988, President Ronald Reagan stated:
“Children, vulnerable and dependent, desperately need security, and it has ever
been a duty and a joy of fatherhood to offer it.
Being a father requires strength in many ways…and more than a little
courage…to persevere, to fight discouragement, and to keep working for the
family.
In that strength, and with God’s grace, fathers find the patience to teach, the
fortitude to provide, the compassion to comfort, and the mercy to forgive.
All of this is to say that they find the strength to love their wives and
children selflessly…
Let us each take this occasion to express our thanks and affection to our
fathers, whether we can do so in person or in prayer.”
___

Remembering Dad

February 8, 1994, I will never forget the evening of this day.  Jennifer, who was 2 at the time was already in bed for the evening.  In my living room, I sat teaching a Bible study to a young woman named Dawn.  In the middle of the Bible study the phone rang.  I quietly chided myself for forgetting to turn off the ringer as I answered the phone.  "Hello, Carol?" a voice on the other end spoke.  "Yes," I replied.  "This is Theresa, your stepmother Laura's sister."  In my mind I thought, "Laura's sister, why is she calling me?Laura?  Dad?  Something's wrong!" She asked if I was sitting down, and when I responded "yes", she proceeded to tell me that my dad had passed away a few hours ago.  "What?" was my shocked reply.  Dad had been out shoveling snow, during one of those common Chicago snowstorms.  After he was done, he came in, took off his boots and sat talking with my stepmother for a few minutes.  He then went into the restroom, and that was when my stepmother heard a loud crash.  My dad had fallen over as a result of a massive heart attack.  It was so hard to believe.  Dad, who always seemed so active, gone at age 56.  The next few days were filled with  sadness and the busyness of making preparations to fly back for the funeral.  Once all of Dad's six kids were together, we had to make a decision about who would speak on behalf of the family at the funeral.  I wish that I could have, but at the time, I felt too crushed with grief to attempt it.  Tom, my oldest brother volunteered to do it.  We all agreed that we would be in prayer for Tom.  He only had one night to prepare before the funeral.  In memory of my dad, I want to share Tom's eulogy, for it so portrayed the man that my dad was.  Although I'm sorry to say that my dad never experienced Biblical salvation, he was a kind and giving person who cared very much for his family and friends.  I cherish the happy memories that I have of him.  God really anointed my brother when he gave this eulogy.  Even the Catholic priest that presided over the service(and was elderly)said it was the best eulogy he had ever heard.  Amidst the sadness of that day, I felt an immense pride in my brother and a thankfulness to God for giving him these words.

Dad’s Eulogy 

Somebody said it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That maybe it couldn’t, but he would be the one

Who wouldn’t say “no” till he tried

So he buckled right in

With a trace of a grin on his face

If he worried, he hid it

And he started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done—and he did it.

In my mind, one of the toughest things to tackle in our days, perhaps something where not a lot of men with children place much weight of importance on, but nonetheless a challenge to be tackled—is that of being not just a father with children, but a good father to children—and in the case of my dad—a very good father—the best.

-Always putting his kids and loved ones before himself, he would rather be uncomfortable than see us be uncomfortable.  He’d rather go without than see one of us suffer need.

-Always there to lend an ear.

-Dad spent time with his children—not only at home but also taking us away from, and outside of, the homefront:

.  Taking us kids to the store via dad-powered toy wagon

Prince
Castle ice cream place for cool summer treats

.  Brookfield Zoo, where dad would often act like some of the animals.

.  Morton Arboretum and the Old Grau Mill where we hid amongst the trees and trails to                     hide from martians and other aliens.  

.Cantigny
Museum, where we climbed in and out of old war tanks with dad.

.  Fun fairs(used to be called Free fairs)with Gram and Gramps and others.

-Then there were turkeys and hams carved by dad.

-Writing on dad’s back with multi-colored pens—dad seemed to love that.

-Dad’s pizza bread, spaghetti sauce, deviled eggs and other (usually Italian)delectables.

-Back massages—by dad—he gave the best, Aunt Mer.

-Dad the gardener—from building his own greenhouses indoors, to growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and zillions, it seemed of other fruits and vegetables—oudoors.

-Dad couldn’t fix much—just TV’s, refrigerators, antennaes, air conditioners, thermostats, cars, bikes, flat tires, leaks of all kinds, old trailer home porches, squeaky doors, doorbells, heaters, new accessories that needed putting together, clocks, radios—you say, “It’s broken,” the norm was – dad tried to fix it.

-Dad the comforter—when certain of us flunked our first driver’s test, dad comforted with the words, “all successes come through failure,” and then Karen passed her 2nd test.

-Pony rides on dad’s back—although he did fall a little short on that with us these last few years.

-Gifts and money on Christmas and birthdays.

-Dad took us out on Father’s Day.

-Dad loved to barbecue—for us.

-Dad treated us on his birthday.

-Treats at Old Country Buffet.

-Picking up friends—our friends-from the airport.

-Station wagons and vans—how dad loved them.

-Popsicles in the summer.

-Games like Trivia Pursuit, Scattergories, Outburst, Pictionary—to name a very few.

-Computer Wit—always upgrading, finding new games, new features, figuring out new ways of doing computer functions.

-Never showing favoritism or partiality toward any one of us although we KNOW the Big Kids were VERY special to him.

-Helping us with homework.

-Taking us blueberry picking and apple picking when we were young.

-Attending our graduations and for some of us – weddings—with gifts and money.

-Always working on crossword puzzles.

-Loved flea markets—and those tools!

-Bingo player—rarely won a dime but played anyway.

-Wildly delirious line dancer—that is—if he had just eaten a 4 lb. burger—with fries, at Dumas Walkers.

-In the early Atari days, dad was up at the crack of dawn playing Frogger.

-Always caring, always unselfish, always running for others.

-Dad found time for books too—science books, science fiction books, mysteries, hard bound books, paperback books, book-shelf builder.

-Dad the driver—always felt safe with dad driving.

-Dad the house fixer-upper.

-Dad the paneler.

-Dad the lawn mower.

-Dad the twig and tree branch picker-upper.

-Dad the pooper-scooper—he loved those dogs—Thunder, Mayling, Hawkeye.

-Dad the patio builder.

-Dad the closest I know of anyone to being an overall Jack-of-All-Trades.

-Plus, always working overtime, but still finding time somehow for friends and loved ones.

I thank God for the treasure He gave us when He gave us my dad.  Although today, we’ll be burying an earthly body, in my mind, this treasure of memories—and really more than just memories, but also labors of love that touched many lives—this treasure will never—Capital N—Never be buried.  I thank God for my dad.


Tom Contino