Monday, January 21st, 2019

The Evolution Solution: A Tribute to Father’s Day

Photo Courtesy of Valerie Kazarian

Posted on June 16, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By Valerie Kazarian, Staff Writer

With Father’s Day here, we tend to shop for cards, dust off the baseball equipment and hope the weather holds for the barbeque. And what to get for a gift? Every once in a while though, I think it’s time to stop and think and reflect, on the gifts our fathers have given to us. My own father was a veritable Santa Claus of gifts. Let me share one of those gifts with you today.

“Did you find anything?” my father shouted to my sister and me. We were on what he called a “deserted island,” just off of Bailey Island in Casco Bay. It was a cool summer evening with the sun setting yellow, pink and violet.  

“No,” Vanessa responded. My sister and I had no clue what we were looking for.  My dad was always telling stories, we had no idea we were about to become part of a beaut.  

Our tender, bare, eight-year-old feet moved slowly across the stony beach and onto the cold granite rocks. We were in our bathing suits, which we just about lived in while on vacation, still wet from the wade onto the island and chilled by the wind we moved on.  

Dad and my oldest cousin, Diddy, were securing the “ship,” a small boat, with loose beach rocks so it wouldn’t drift away as we explored. We had rented it from Captain Ed, “the pirate.” With its Jolly Roger flag secured tightly in the bow, the four of us were out on an adventure at sea.

“Keep looking. Did you look over there?” How ‘bout over here?” Dad was shouting suggestions from the beach below.  

Together my sister and I looked around obligingly not knowing what we were supposed to be looking for, when suddenly under some seaweed, “we found it!” A hidden pirate chest. Left by “pirates.” A red one filled with jewelry and toys. What a find!  

The jewels sparkled in what little light was left and we were simply astonished. Jacks,  whistles, plastic things of all sorts. Wait ‘til the kids in school hear about this!  

This was my Dad. An adventurer. A story teller. An absolute delight. He had spent the spring shopping for a toy treasure chest and the costume jewelry to go in it. He and Diddy had gone out earlier in the day to “bury the treasure” and maneuvered the entire evening. He had planned this whole outing for months and got as much thrill out of it as my sister and I had gotten.

This is what I think of first as I remember my Dad. He taught us all of his old college football cheers and some really fun expressions that his army sergeant taught him – expressions that I won’t share with you here. He was stern but a romantic in the classical sense.

My father was a man of his time. A World War II veteran, he was always more conservative than I was. Born of Armenian immigrants, he was a proud American. English was his second language, yet he became a newspaper reporter and a lover of the language. His language craft wasn’t limited to his profession either. He was a notorious jokester and punster.  

But he was also a man ahead of his time. He told me when I was very young that I was going to go on to college and I could be whatever I wanted to be – at a time when it was still a little unusual for girls to go on to college. Not all colleges accepted girls. There were things we couldn’t become – like doctors or engineers or chemists. We could become nurses and probably nutritionists but there were some real limits.  

His only professional advice was that I learn how to type because, “You’ll always be able to get a job.” For a while that was a roll-your-eyes idea. Professional women didn’t want to be known for their typing abilities but in the long run, look how well it’s turned out.

Dad passed away twelve years ago, and Father’s Day has been an odd day for me ever since. I certainly miss him and still feel the urge to buy a card. He is remembered everyday in so many ways, in memories, in expressions and in family traditions. But I do miss the event of Father’s Day.  

I hope you are all able to be with your fathers, grandfathers or guardians on this special day. Enjoy all the little things they do – even if they sometimes make you want to roll your eyes. Like this, It’s always fashionable regardless of generation to think when young to dread becoming like your parents. While I have not exactly become my father, I do know that I am what I am in good part because of what my Dad allowed me to become. He certainly was the shiniest jewel on the beach that day!

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