The truth of the matter is my father was very much an absentee kind of guy. And while my mother was a raging termagant, he decided his life would be better served traveling for business than protecting his kids from what we call today "a borderline personality."
As a consequence, my old man and I had very little to do with each other for most of my life. In fact, after I left my parents' tilted little house for the Mexican League in June, 1975--42 years ago--I barely went back at all and had very little contact with them once I was no longer bound to them financially. It wasn't unusual for me to go decades--literally decades not speaking to my father and mother.
So, father's day is never an easy day for me, not that many days are. But seeing people's old Kodachromes and nostalgic memories of their dad's make me especially cognizant of my paternal lacuna.
He was never a guy you could count on. And never a guy who would put having a catch in front of having a conference call, or, a secretary.
Somehow, though, I think I've been a better dad to my daughters. I must have read somewhere that a parent's job is to give his kids roots and wings. And I've tried with my kids--and they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.
I guess my main thing with my old man, with growing up in darkest demoral'd suburbia can best be summed up by Robert Frost's definition of home from his great poem "The Death of the Hired Man."
"Home is the place where,
When you have to go there,
They have to take you in."
My old man never took me in. Never accepted my stubbornness and unwillingness to accede to my parent's dictates.
So, father's day always brings a little sadness with its dadless.
My wife and daughters make it better.
Still, I wish I had had an old man to have a catch with.