Uppermost House: What hinges on Father’s Day

PeterLewisTreehouseCMYKBy S. Peter Lewis

BN Columnist

According to Wikipedia (the world’s most reliable information source), Father’s Day is defined as, “a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.”

It’s also a day for bad neckties, jalapeño peppers stuffed with hot sausage and wrapped in bacon, the joy of an idle lawnmower, and the chance for a long peaceful nap on the couch in the afternoon (with the obligatory embarrassing photo on Facebook that you can look at after you wake up and be thankful it hasn’t gone viral yet; and if you pay your kids twenty bucks maybe it never will).

I like Father’s Day for all the above reasons (except for the sausage thing, which I wouldn’t eat), but it also makes me a little sad because it seems to leave the other 364 days paternally void and pointless and I think it’s backwards. I think Father’s Day should be every day and I think it shouldn’t so much give dads a chance to be doted on, but to dote on others.

The thing I want most on Father’s Day is to be a father.

Or, as it turns out, to be a grandfather.

This past weekend, I spent many pleasant hours in the garage measuring and sawing and pounding away on a small construction project for a certain little blonde-haired girl, who I have fallen in love with. Her name is Sophie and she turns two on Thursday.

When finished, my project will foster both creativity and imagination, and I hope it will divert Sophie’s attention long enough to give her mom and dad occasional respite. And with her new sister due in just a couple of months, they will need Sophie to be able to occupy herself.

It wasn’t a complicated project, but it did involve three moving parts that had me scratching my head several times. The parts were hinged and had to pivot first this way and then that way and then this way again and finally come to rest right there. The right there part was fixed in both position and mind, but the hinging bits were more theoretical and they forced me to move imaginary things around in my mind while I sorted out which way to screw this into that in such a way that Sophie wouldn’t just stand there pouting with her hands on her hips wondering why her G-Pa’s clever contraption didn’t work.

It was a lot like the U.S. Congress or a recipe for a cauliflower smoothie, in that it seemed like a good idea, but you couldn’t really test it first to see if it would work — you just had to toss the ingredients in the blender and see what happened.

In the end, I screwed it down without screwing it up and painted it in a chaotic happy pattern that will make Miss Sophie gleeful (a common theme in her life). In a few days, we’ll strap it to the roof of the car and drive it over to her house, where her dad will help me unload it and then the two of us will carry it around back and set it up. I will show him how the hinges work and he will smile and be so thankful (a common theme in his life).

I can’t imagine a better way to spend Father’s Day than making something wonderful for the daughter of the father I love and admire the most: my son.

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