One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be."
FATHER'S DAY GIFT
Last year at about this same time, I just happened to be
at Meijer in the greeting card area looking for a birthday card, when a man struck up a conversation. "What are you giving your father this year?" he asked me.
"My father died in 1991," I said.
Obviously embarrassed, he said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I never thought to ask." Then without hesitation he continued, "It's just that I always have a hard time trying to find something for my father. It's not that he has everything, but whatever you give him always ends up in a drawer unused. I have this great fear that when he dies I'm going to find all my gifts for him still in the original packaging."
"I know exactly how you feel," I answered. "Each Father's Day, my wife and I decided to take him and mom out to dinner and give him a gift card to whatever store he shopped. It was really not very personal, but he liked it. He got to choose what he wanted."
"No matter what we give him, he always says the same thing, 'Oh, that's nice. You're wasting your money!'" he said, laughing. "Then he sets it aside."
"Well, it's easy for me now. I just sing for him," I told him.
"But I thought you said he was dead."
"Yes, but he's still very much alive in me," I replied. "I sing because he always enjoyed singing with my mom as she played piano, and he always loved hearing my mom sing. I grew up on great music. I'm just paying him back."
"Where do you sing for him?"
"At the cemetery, of course."
"Okay..." He seemed skeptical.
"Every Father's Day I visit the cemetery. Because his grave is fairly close to the road, I am able to pull up next to it. I open my car door, pop in my own CD I recorded and stand over his grave and sing."
"What do you sing?" he asked.
"Too Ra Loo Ra. It was an old Bing Crosby hit and was my Dad's favorite. It always brought tears to his eyes." "Then what?"
"Then I get back in my car and go home."
"Don't you feel foolish?" he asked. "I mean there must be other people around. Don't they look at you funny?"
"To tell you the truth I never pay attention to anyone else. Yes, I see them there, but this is my gift for my father. They bring flowers. I sing."
"Well," he objected, "I can't sing."
"You don't have to," I told him. "While you still have your father with you, give him your time. Sit with him. Talk to him while you can. Ask him questions about his youth, when he met your mother, his first job. What was his biggest dream? Do you know any of this?"
He thought for a moment, ran his fingers up and down the greeting cards in front of him and softly said, "No. I don't."
"There will come a time when you wish you had asked," I said.
"Come to think of it, I don't even know his favorite song," he said.
"Find out and buy it for him. Better yet, sing it with him. That, my friend, will be the greatest gift you'll ever give him. Then on that day when all the shirts and ties are found in his drawer unopened, you'll still have something to give him.
Then, if a stranger stops you in a card store and asks, you can say, 'I sing for my father.'"