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Print

George Little: Give the gift of your time this Father’s Day

June 17, 2011 at 05:23 PM

The State Journal-Register

The origin of Father’s Day is a little muddy.

Some say the first observance was in Spokane, Wash., in 1911, organized as a complement to Mother’s Day by a grateful daughter whose father, a Civil War veteran, raised six kids by himself. Others contend the first observance was three years earlier in West Virginia to honor 210 fathers who had been killed in a mining disaster.

While it was observed informally for many years, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed a bill making the third Sunday in June the official Father’s Day.
Regardless of how it took root, Father’s Day will be here Sunday. With it comes the gut-wrenching process of finding a gift that will make Dad happy. Bill Cosby once said, “Fatherhood is pretending you like soap on a rope.”

The process is complicated by the fact that most dads don’t have a mental list of things they want or need — at least not a list of small-ticket items. We’d all like to have a new ATV, a guided safari, a float trip through the Grand Canyon or a ’68 GTO.

If a new hammer, weed killer, hiking shoes, camp shovel or 5 pounds of beef jerky were high on Dad’s list, he’d already have them. He would have power shopped last week, and in less than 30 minutes would have been home with all those items, plus a loaf of sourdough bread. Chances are, he was gone and back again before anybody missed him.

So where does that leave the appreciative son or daughter in search of a meaningful gift that might not appear on the silent auction table at the next Pheasants Forever banquet? Here is some “fatherly” advice.

Change your approach. Forget trying to surprise him. Fathers with teenagers, or those who have raised them, have already had a boatload of surprises.

Ask him if there’s something on his “wish list” that he doesn’t want to search for himself. Write it down. It’s going to be harder to find than the last unicorn. If it weren’t, he’d already have it. Better get cracking.  The Father’s Day fuse is lit.

Most dads will tell potential gift givers that they already have enough stuff and not quite enough time to take advantage of it. There’s a present you can give your dad that will outlive tomorrow, and become more valuable as time goes by.

All of us have room for one more good memory. We should never pass on the opportunity to create one. If you want to give your dad something really special, ask him what he wants to do, and then go do it with him. You may end up fishing, taking a walk through the timber, playing Wiffle ball or learning how to load a trap and shoot at clay targets.

On Sunday, give your dad the most valuable thing you have to give — your time — and use it to make a smiling memory.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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