As this past weekend marked a moment to pause and pay homage to Father’s Day across this nation, it brought forth a pendulum of emotions. Some were rejoicing, to have a family gathering after months of being a part, since Covid began separating loved ones. Yet others mourn for their loss of their cherished, who have already passed. Others grieve from the depths of their soul from never knowing them in the first place. Kelly Clarkston’s song gives the picture well in, "Piece by Piece," which symbolizes many who feel the pains of absentee fathers across this nation.

Historically, the United States is hundreds of years behind in recognizing fathers, as Europe has done such since the Middle Ages. Two individuals are recognized for the budding of the patronage in our nation, Grace Golden Clayton in l907, after in West Virginia’s horrific mining accident where 36l miners were killed. The other being Sonora Smart Dodd in l9l0 when she went to her local preacher, seeing her own Veteran Civil War father who was caring for six children as a single parent. Woodrow Wilson began the quest for Mother’s Day in l9l6, paid reverence for fathers, but it was Johnson in l966 who had declared the third Sunday to be set aside for celebrating Father’s Day. Nixon had made it an official National Holiday in l972.

Facts unfortunately show that the role of fathers in America has taken a downward spiral, in fact the National Fatherhood Initiative has stated in 20l7 that of l9.7 million children the numbers are staggering of those who are without fathers in the home, one out of four is one estimate. In another study, it showed that 75% of blacks in ratio, with other demographics all showing it to have a common denominator of issue. A young man without a father is twice as likely to go to jail, with 90 percent of felons having that marker being evident. Thus it is apparently obvious, that a father in the home is a clear indication, that it can be of positive value, and there are many homes this is not the case.

This social trend is nothing new, it has been rising and has been in the crux of semantics for decades. In l972, the lyrics of the Temptations, "Papa was a Rolling Stone," addresses the issue of absentee fatherhood. The often tale as in "Cats in the Cradle," that expresses the lack of attention that children often feel with estrangement factors being a cause for emotional issues. The contrast is the homes is where the Dad is the rock, the anchor, who is holding down the fort and is the pinnacle of what every child would want; in fact being the one doing it single handedly. So not to paint the picture that all is gloom in the homes of America, quite contrary. It is true that there are millions who are blessed to have that gift with their Dad being there from the birth to every milestone in their lives.

There has to be something said for the unique men in this nation who stand in the gap, they become the daddy for those who for any amount of reasons are not able to have one. They wipe the tears, go to parent teachers conferences, ball games, bandage skin knees and walk down aisles at weddings. They become the grandpa that stands in the window with that captured glow with the new baby that takes their heart, they are the one that makes the heart complete. They fill the hole, the space where the missing piece was left gaping, torn, frayed and bleeding in the most beautiful way. If one thinks about it, it began long ago 2000 years plus, with Joseph, in a little town called Bethlehem. As Brad Paisley sings in his poignant, "He Didn’t Have to Be," the lyrics are symbolic as they say it perfectly, "How we went to something’s missing to a family." Hats off to all those special, unique men who become the light for those children in a dim world, for they will in turn make it a brighter place for years to come.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there near and far and to their families. May they find comfort and solace if it is needed. Thank you for the Dads who were like min, as he chose me to be his own little girl by adoption. The special lunch dates, followed by trips to my favorite "Baskin Robbins," memories of brushing his hair, vacations across this rich nation and seeing his moral character, all I cherish. There is something that can never replace the love of a Daddy, it captures your soul and blankets it from all of life’s woes. May all those continue to stay faithful in their diligence to stand firm as they stand in the gap for the greatest treasure on earth, our future.

Thoughts from the countryside bench