Sunday, June 15, 2014

only a dad


It's time to set the record straight. Fathers everywhere should listen up.
I want to share something I learned as a child. If my father were here today this is what I would say to him:
As a child I didn't care what job he went off to every day. He could have donned a pair of overalls and strapped on a tool belt, or picked up his stethoscope or briefcase on the way out the door and I wouldn't have long as he came home at night.
It didn't matter that our house was old, that it creaked in the wind and sagged in the corners. I didn't care what kind of car he drove...long as he came home at night.
It didn't matter how much money he earned, how much power he wielded, or how much stuff we long as he came home at night.
At home at night he taught me how to throw a ball, to ride a bike, to build a fort.
He showed me how to brave a storm, to hammer a nail, to hang a swing. He led me outside to play in the snow, to feed the birds, to watch the sun set and the moon rise. At night, he shoveled the coal that stoked the furnace that kept me warm.
This post is for all the fathers who can't be home with their families tonight. You know who you are. You might be half way around the world fighting to protect the lives of children who remind you of your own.

You might be pumping gas, or mopping floors tonight.
You might be fighting a fire, or rushing to the scene of an accident.

You might be busy setting a broken leg or closing the hole in someone's heart.
Maybe you can't be home tonight. Even so...this poem is for you:
Only a Dad
By Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice...

...Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.
Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.
Enjoy the day if you can. If you can't, try to enjoy someone else's day. 


  1. That poem never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

    1. Every father should keep a copy in his pocket at all times...

  2. Thanks, Jan. After twenty years it still hurts not to be able to call my dad and ask him how to do something or fix something.

    1. I know, Susan. So often when I'm outdoors I want to say, "Look Dad. Remember when...?"