Guest Commentary: Ready to fire up those Father’s Day memories?


Danny Tyree’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

It’s difficult to wrap my mind around it, but this will be my 20th Father’s Day as a father.

All of those third Sundays in June have blurred together, but I certainly have warm memories of son Gideon’s everyday march toward adulthood. (He marched. I hopped — because of those plastic toys on the carpet.)

Ah, the embarrassing anecdotes I can someday share with my theoretical grandchildren!

Once upon a time, Gideon made a journal entry about a visit to the farm cooperative where I work. The entry casually mentioned “watching the chicks dancing.” Several months later, he did an annotated version. (“Earlier, when I said I was watching chicks dancing, I meant baby chickens, not girls.”) I guess he didn’t want posterity assuming the cooperative hosted Rat Pack parties.

His first-ever sighting of twins elicited an outburst of “There’s two of that girl!”

On another occasion, Gideon started gushing about his beloved CD of children’s songs. He said one of the songs was sung by a fish. I playfully asked him if it was a real fish. He innocently replied, “I don’t know. It sounded like one!” Good thing I didn’t actually bust a gut laughing, or he might have tried giving me a “burial at sea” with the toilet.

I remember a meltdown Gideon experienced when he was 7. He was inconsolable because my wife wouldn’t let him play on the bird-splattered outdoor playground at a McDonald’s. Putting my college child psychology course to good use, I took him aside and suggested that we send his mother packing and advertise for an open-minded new mommy, who would let him play on a bird-splattered outdoors playground.

He stopped blubbering long enough to splutter, “But that’s not what the Bible says!” I’m glad he’s a kindhearted boy.

That’s far from the only McDonald’s playground anecdote. When Gideon was older, my wife offered to take him to the playground as part (!) of a shopping excursion. All he heard was “McDonald’s playground.” (This was par for the course. When he first studied American history, we had to drum it into his noggin that the teacher did not say George Washington was “first in war, first in peace, first in line for the tunnel at the McDonald’s playground.”)

Gideon wallowed in self-pity as he was dragged from store to store to store. I told him he shouldn’t have expected just a playground visit, since “You know how Momma is.”

“Yes, but I thought she would change!” he wailed. Ready for marriage at such a tender age.

At age 8, he announced he wanted to explore a bachelor’s degree program for video game design. I told him that it’s a highly competitive world out there and that he would have to be the best at whatever career he settled on. He would need to offer something extra — whether he wound up designing video games, building bridges or constructing the time machine that he always dreamed of.

After mulling it over, he very solemnly suggested, “I could put a cup holder in the time machine.”

I hope Father’s Day 2023 really rocks for your family.

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