I visited my Dad yesterday and gave him his usual Father’s Day gift. Scratch tickets from Randall’s Farm in Ludlow. This year I decided to sweeten the pot a bit and asked him if he wanted to go to the Traveler’s Golf Championship in Cromwell Connecticut the following week. I haven’t seen him light up this much in years.
See, that’s the thing about my Dad, and I think most great Father’s. They are so grateful for the small things. Fixing a car together, going on a road trip, watching a PGA Tournament.
Later that night I remembered a story he told me when he was a kid. My Father is from Northern Maine and number sixteen of seventeen kids. Hand me downs and an apple for Christmas was the norm in the Swimm household. That was until my Dad’s 10th birthday when his Dad bought him a brand new hatchet. His first real gift.
Like any ten year old boy, Bobby Swimm couldn’t wait to get that hatchet into some real action. That action came in the form of the frozen pond behind the old farmhouse. He gently chopped a small hole in the ice making sure not to scratch or tarnish the handle or blade. Then the unthinkable happened as he went to measure the thickness of the ice. It slipped out his hand to the bottom of the pond. For anyone who knows anything about Northern Maine, you know that December ice doesn’t melt until late April. That hatchet was lost forever.
How would you like to tell your Father you lost the only real Christmas gift you ever received? One that probably cost two days pay in 1953. He faced the music and got downgraded back to fruit for gifts. If you ask him about it now he’ll tell you hatchets are made for chopping and that’s what ten year old boys do.
Most Dad’s have a hatchet story. My Dad turned his into a lifetime of gratitude.
Happy….Day after Father’s Day