So cool to begin my week of guest blogging on Summer Solstice and Father's Day. Woot! It's summer at last, people! Big round moon, good stuff growing, bodies loose and moving. As James Taylor would croon, "...I'm for that, got my rubber sandals, got my straw hat. Got my cold beer, man I'm glad that it's here..."
And to top that off...Happy Father's Day!
I know, happiness is always problematic, fathers often so. Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" clarifies that. And there have been some disturbing to demonic dads in the news this past year, true. But almost every dad I know, flawed as he may be, seems to be trying to do a good job, to do the best he can figure. No easy task, god bless 'em.
And each of us is here, alive, as a product of some father, good or bad. Whether you had a great one and miss him or had a bad dad and wish you had missed him, or he simply was missing, some sort of "dad-longing" seems pretty universal. I'll just say I miss my own dad who left this orbit 25 years ago, no Father's Day since free from some bit of longing. Nothing a little Field of Dreams and swelling strings can't stir up. "Hey, Dad?"
Hats off to Father's, then, to the better and to the best.
And then, put those hats right back on. Not caps, ubiquitous, hairdo hiding, team-boasting, brand-bearing baseball caps, but actual "hats." And not just summer's straw hat. I am of a generation who still associated fathers with both hats and pipes; that was how I distinguished boys from men in grade school artwork. In crayon renderings, the father always wore a brown hat consisting of a straight line drawn across the the brow for the brim and some sort of simple brown colored crown. Dad. Often with a black pipe stuck in the corner of his red smile, gray smoke sweetly curling up to blue sky studded with lamb-like cloud puffs. But trends were changing. I do remember lifting lids off hat boxes in my dad's closet (a straw boater, a Stetson, his WWII Air Force cap) but I don't recall him actually wearing one...
Though several men who blog here sport hats. Such verve! (such nerve!) which leads to today's final and most useful topic: the perfect Father's Day gift.
No, not a hat. A blog.
"The Art of Manliness." The title doesn't evoke what a feminist-wannabe would typically recommend, but the site has some awfully engaging information, though rather straight and white in its point of view. And, well, stereotypically male. But such well-written and researched topics--not only "Bringing Back the Hat," but "5 Classic Cocktails Every Man Should Know," "Boxing: A Manly History of the Sweet Science of Bruising," (love that title), "The Gentleman's Guide to Umbrellas," as well as "30 Days to a Better Man Day 20: Perform Service," all paired with cool vintage illustrations. I'd say Dad could do a lot worse in his quest to be the best, and I'd guess there's something for all us assorted genders and persuasions, too.
So cheers! Cheers to dads everywhere! (p.s. I'm quite fond of the entry, "The Perfect Hat for Your Ugly Mug")