Father’s Day Reading Round-Up: Have a Good Laugh, Cry; Call Your Father, Kiss Your Kids


It is a warm and beautiful Sunday where I am sitting. But I am thousands of miles from my dad on this Father’s Day and also, I am responsible for doing a bit of blogging. Hopefully you, dear reader, get to this particular online entry after a day spent with your own father, your children or someone’s father who you care about deeply, preferably outside. As for me, I made a phone call and arranged for Amazon to deliver a book, one written by a blogger no less, because I thought it appropriate. I also spent in between time reading many words about other people’s fathers, because it made me feel warm, sad and content, simultaneously. Sunday feelings. Here are five of the best, a sort of dénouement for Father’s Day 2010:

1. For a Young Parent, Lessons in Fatherhood [New York Times]

This is the story of a 20-year-old father, “among 16 graduates of the three-year-old Bronx Fatherhood Program, which trains men ages 16 to 24 in bathing and feeding their children, and how to get along with the children’s mother to help win or keep visitation or custodial rights.” A photographer documented the program, to marvelous effect. One father had this to say:

“My relationship with my real dad has been spotty. And, I’ll never forget this: he said, ‘If something was to ever go wrong with you, if I felt that, you know, you just messed up completely, I’ll make another one of you.’ You know, he has five kids, so I was a complete reject.”

2. My old man by Roger Ebert [Chicago-Sun Times]

My father woke up about 5:30 every morning. I’d hear him downstairs, taking clinkers out of the furnace and shoveling in coal. Then he’d turn on Paul Gibson from WBBM from Chicago. Gibson had no particular politics; he just talked for two or three hours, usually nonstop. Daddy would make coffee and toast, almost burnt, and the aromas would fill the small house. I’d stumble in and he’d hand me a slice, slathered with clover honey from the University Farms. Gibson didn’t play much music, but one day he played “The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant. I walked into the kitchen. “You like that?” my father asked, nodding. The song has haunted me ever after.

3. A single dad spills his secrets by Trey Ellis [Salon]

Ava’s hair. A young black woman’s hair. Volumes have been written on those voluminous manes. I pride myself on my prowess wrestling with my little girl’s locks, yet for her middle-school graduation she wants braids. “You can do it, Daddy,” she told me. Flattered as I was, I’m afraid she’ll end up looking like she’d been electrocuted. I’m working on getting her mom up here from her home in Atlanta, not just to be there to watch her daughter march, but the day before to do her hair.

4. Rental Units by Ben Greenman [New York Times]

Last year my parents rented for a few months in the neighborhood. Then about a month ago, on the phone, my mother told me that they were thinking of coming to Brooklyn.

“Right,” I said. “For a few months?”

“Or a few decades,” she said, laughing.

5. my father moved through dooms of love by E. E. Cummings

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

photo via reddit