My friend and I were having coffee at our usual watering hole.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off the little boy and his father in the booth across the way.
The child chattered happily, occasionally reaching over to grasp his father’s hand in a gesture of total devotion on his countenance. The father responded in the same way.
“What a good father,” I thought, and then caught myself, remembering a Father’s Day message I had received from my friend, Dr. Assad Meymandi.
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In it, he pointed out the difference between a father and a dad.
“It is so easy to be a father,” he wrote. “All it takes is a willing partner and nine months later a child is produced. But it takes a whole lot of preparation and commitment to be a dad.”
“Dads love, care, provide and offer moral leadership to and role models for their children,” he added. “Dads are selfless, giving and loving. Dads offer security, permanence and they are there for their children forever. To be a dad is one of the most responsible jobs on earth.”
Watching the dad and son, I realized anew that I had had a father, a fine, respected and kind man. But, age 64 when I was born, he was never a dad. He might have been a dad to his older sons, but not to his last born. And, especially as a child, I missed that very much.
A recent poll reveals that 61 percent of the American people want President Trump to stop tweeting.
A reader of this column writes: “I’ll give even money that the 39 percent who want him to continue are Democrats. They know that Trump’s rants are slowly destroying the Republican Party.”
As I watched a flurry of birds attack the just-filled feeder, I couldn’t help but admire the flashy cardinal (redbird) and conclude that the state legislature, back in the 1930s, did a good job in selecting the cardinal as North Carolina’s state bird.
According to an old newspaper clipping, the cardinal was not the first choice.
A legislator, using the bird’s ornithological name, had earlier nominated the plain, grayish little bird we know as the titmouse. It was routinely adopted as the state bird.
However, two days later a legislator by the name of Walter “Pete” Murphy of Rowan County lodged a protest. He had looked up the bird’s common name, which was not to his liking.
“I’ll be damned,” he said, “if I’m going to go around telling folks I’m from the tomtit state.”
The legislature rescinded its earlier action and voted to choose the handsome cardinal as the state bird.
Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal wear the honor with dignity and decorum. They rarely attack other birds, badmouth their peers or monopolize the feeding perches. Too bad such admirable attributes can’t be found in more of our other elected representatives.
It’s mater time!
Among the joys of summer are red ripe tomatoes freshly out of the farmers’ fields.
All winter we’ve paid premium prices for something passed off as tomatoes, grown in hothouses and shipped almost green from Florida or California.
What better lunch than a BLT, succulent slices of sun-kissed tomatoes, almost dripping with flavor, topped off with lettuce and a couple slices of crisp bacon?
At family reunions or church events featuring tables laden with a large variety of tempting dishes, I always went for the tomato sandwiches.
We all have our favorite “brands,” such as Homestead, Ponderosa and Purple Cherokee.
A few summers ago, I was roaming the Farmer’s Market on the prowl for Purple Cherokees. I approached a vegetable stand presided over by a teenage girl, apparently tending the stand for her father.
“What are these?” I asked, picking up a handsome, luscious-looking tomato.
The young girl looked at me in amazement, if not contempt, and said impatiently, “Why mister! They’re maters!”
It’s not just the fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and other offerings that attract me to the market. I go also for a brief visit to my rural childhood and the “country” drawls and the frank, open faces as I engage the vendors in conversation.
Go there, my friends, for maters and much more!