honor to dear old dad, by loading him down with all of the paternal wares that the
retailers can convince us are essential to the good life for pop. So, since I did make
an effort to say something about Mother's Day, in the blog this year, I decided to give
some equal space to the male parents of the country. I was just beginning to compose
my thoughts, when my little friend, thespian and sometime model, Horatio, popped in
to say hello.
" Bonjour, Monsieur McNerney, my great artiste friend. How are you today?",
he said, with typical, dramatic flourish.
So I wished him a good day in return, as I wondered whether his costume might
provide some insight into the ever changing definition of the middle "H" in his name.
As it turned out, I was not mistaken in that assumption. I asked him what his plans
were for the day, and he said that he had been asked to prepare the Father's Day
banquet for some of his friends at The Quadruped Playhouse, because of his well
known, family heritage in the field of houte cuisine. I said that I was not familiar with
that part of his family history, so he told me that one of his ancestors had spent a
number of years in L'Ecole du Cordon Bleu, in Paris, under the tutelage of his mentor,
the founder of the school, the famous chef, Henri-Paul Pellaprat. It seemed that Horatio's
ancestor wasn't exactly under the chef's tutelage so much as he was under the
chef's stove, which Horatio said had been an exclusive position for him to be,
in order to take all of his voluminous notes on how to prepare the chef''s famous
recipes. I agreed that the exclusive position must have been a great advantage, for
gathering the great knowledge of cooking which had been passed down to Horatio.
and I asked if his middle name might reflect that long, family tradition. And indeed,
he said the name Henri, was a frequently adopted one for family members, as a tribute
to their culinary, talented ancestor.
He said that he wouldn't have much time to pose, because he had several pots
cooking on his stove, and he didn't trust his helpers to keep the pots stirred. However,
he paused briefly, and as I was doing a quick sketch, he asked what I was planning
for my dinner. I replied that it was unlikely to be anything like a recipe from the Cordon
Bleu school of French cuisine, but that I preferred something simple, because I had
nothing in particular to celebrate. Then, with another exchange of "Bonjour !", I sent
him off to stir his pots, because I didn't want him to burn such a four-star meal.
Horatio's visit had been a little, bright spot in what would have been an ordinary
day for me. My own father has been gone for more years than a majority of today's
young grandfathers have been alive, and I was not fortunate enough to have children of
my own, so I had no reason to pay much attention to all of the celebrations going on
around the globe. Evidently there are well over one hundred countries which have
holidays to pay tribute to the long-suffering dads of the world. The first such recognized
holiday in this country was begun in 1910, by the daughter of a civil war vet, who thought
we we were not doing enough to honor our fathers. The special days for fathers in other
some countries began later, such as that of France, which was initiated after the second
world war, by an advertising campaign from a manufacturer of cigarette lighters, saying
that every father in the country deserved the special pleasure of owning one of the new
lighters. The celebrations in other countries, go back much further in time, such as the
so-called Man's Day, in Germany, where there is an old tradition for men to have a day
to drink their troubles away, by taking treks while pulling wagons filled with bottles
of potent potables. Presumably, all of the bottles will have been finished off by the time
the men stagger back home, but at least the wagons weigh less coming back than when
they left, and none of the men are expected to make it to work on the following day.
I would like to suggest, for those who really want to make Father's Day or any day
more special for a truly wonderful dad, don't worry so much about expensive gifts; just
tell him that you love him. We live in a repressive society which is often uncomfortable
with showing expressions of love between fathers and sons, but that needs to change.
Even if your father gets all embarrassed and flustered when you say it, tell him you love
him, and say it every time you have the chance. The day will come when you will never
have that opportunity again.
Eugene P. McNerney