Former procrastinators, I hope you had a good time and joyful memories as you celebrated Father’s Day. I celebrated the great value in a dad who played.
Growing up, our family would be at the supper table on summer nights when the doorbell would ring. “Can your dad come out and play?” The group of neighborhood boys and girls standing in our yard were not asking for us kids. They were asking for the most fun dad they knew – ours.
We all loved to play chase games. The favorite was “Ain’t No Boogers.” (Yes, that’s correct.) We kids would skip nervously around our front yard singing “Ain’t no boogers out tonight. Daddy killed ‘em all last night!” Then suddenly… ROOAAR!! Out from behind a tree, monster-dad would swoop in among us, arms raised high as he chased us all around. Coins, keys, pens flew out of his pockets. (He learned to remove those before he went out to play.) What screaming and squealing, dodging and taunting! Soon some poor victim was captured, swept up by the monster. “Do it again! Do it again!”
I can’t tell you where the crazy game or words came from. But I can tell you many decades later friends and cousins still chant the words and laugh about how much fun that was. Fun makes an impression.
Daddy was a serious thinker and a hard worker, but he made time for play. Mother saw the value and went to extra trouble so we could make happy memories. For example, Daddy would come home and say, “Let’s cook out!” Carting things to and from the yard was more work for mother and us kids than cooking inside. But it was worth it. In a chef’s apron and a tall white hat, Daddy flipped burgers and pancakes with great fanfare and pronouncements of his expertise. We teased that it took him so long to get food on the table we’d eat anything.
At the beach, we went out only before 8 a.m. and after 6 pm because Daddy was fair skinned. And he had to be there. He acquired huge inner tubes from Caterpillar trucks. Four of us could fit in one of them with room to spare. Riding the big waves was so much fun!
Nobody laughed harder than Daddy when the joke was on him. One night in an open field we sat with several families around a campfire. Daddy excused himself to go to the woods. It was pitch black so he disappeared as soon as he stepped away. Moments later we heard “Aaugh!” and a splash! Daddy emerged from the dark dripping wet. He was henceforth the “Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
Sometimes fun takes a little extra work like changing plans or coordinating. Let’s not put off play because of that. I’m grateful for a dad who played – and for the memories and inspiration!
How can you help the dad in your life have fun?