Sunday, June 18, 2017

#169 / D-Day

In my line of work, I am often responsible for proposing meeting schedules for various community-based groups. In this capacity, I am charged with sending out a proposed list of meetings, usually based on some suggested rule, like a rule that the group will regularly meet on the "third Monday of every month." Invariably, when I do this, some member of the group alerts every other member that I have completely ignored the fact that there are holidays that conflict with my proposed schedule. I am just not that focused on holidays, because I generally pay no attention to them in my own life.

In particular, I have never been a fan of what I think of as the "commercial" holidays: Mother's Day and Father's Day. With a certain degree of tolerance, I acknowledge both the "religious" holidays, like Christmas and Easter, and the "patriotic" holidays, like the Fourth of July, since they do seem to commemorate events of truly historic importance. The "Hallmark Holidays," though, have always seemed to me to be less worthy of recognition, given that they appear to be part of a business-sponsored scheme to benefit restaurant bookings and greeting card sales.

This year, despite my prejudices, Father's Day has reached out and touched me.

The picture above comes from a Wall Street Journal commentary, "I Just Called to Say, ‘I Love You, Dad,’" which somehow penetrated my down-on-holidays defenses. Facebook, today's way of keeping in touch with the people you love, sent me a "Facebook Memory," reminding me of my own past acknowledgment of how much I love, and miss, my own father. 

And then, on Friday evening, my son, Philips, and my daughter, Sonya, sponsored a dinner for me at a very upscale Santa Cruz restaurant, with a card from Philips, addressed to "Daddio," in which he used words from Bob Dylan to recount his own entrance into this world - a world that we are all so privileged to share - crediting me with a significant and important role:

So I came in from the wilderness, 
A creature void of form 
"Come in," you said, I'll give you 
Shelter from the storm.

I am inclined to give more credit to the mothers than to the fathers, but Philips is certainly correct. Our parents, both mothers and fathers, prepare a place for us in this world, in whatever way they do it, making it possible for us to initiate our own lives, as we go from "creatures void of form" to those mysterious creatures, full of life (and this means all of us), who have the ability to act and to create, and to make a "new order in the world."

This is where a salute to mothers and fathers does make sense to me. It is the role of parents to open up this world to new souls, who can strive and struggle themselves, who will "pick up the torch," and carry it on, in the same way their parents did, or in a whole new direction. 

"Father's Day," or "Dad's Day," and I'm calling it "D-Day," here, definitely commemorates that historically important day for every child, the day that a new person truly "hit the beach." Once they are born, formed up on dry land, our children will be advancing up the beach, to take new territory, to create new life. 

It's good, as children, to remember those who have played a small, but important part, in making our own existence possible. 

Thank you, Dad (and Mom). And blessings to those who are moving on down that line my father and mother helped to establish:

Philips B. Patton

Alma Bracken Patton
Gary A. Patton at my Father's Day Dinner, 2017

Marilyn Dilworth Patton
Sonya Patton Drottar

Philips D. Patton
Dylan And Delaney Drottar
Jay Muccilli

Image Credits:
All other photos are personal photos of Gary Patton.


  1. Dad, daddy c'mon, sure it hurt when you picked on me growing up it made me able to handle my tough life.
    Hevdied soon after in peace tgat I " thought he was a gteat dad. And, he believed me

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