Outlined against two oversized recliners and a couch as big as East Texas, the “Four Fathers” reigned again, if for only a brief two hours.
OK, before you old-timers start howling “plagiarism,” I plead guilty ... with good reasoning.
It was Father’s Day, and the lead Grantland Rice wrote of Notre Dame crushing Army way back there in 1924, seemed to fit nicely for a Father’s Day gathering just past. If you came in late (and I suspect most of you did) Rice wrote:
“Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again.”
That kept running through my mind as three generations of outstanding fathers — George Houston Smith, Barry Stephen Smith, Riley Stephen Smith, and James Tyler Smith — were wrapped in the warmth of their loved ones.
(If you’re looking for silly, you’ve just read a 13 on a scale of 1-10)
Steaks were grilled, steaks were eaten. Ice cream was made, ice cream was eaten. Gifts were presented and a few instances of “I love you, Dad” were heard.
Another nice thing about “Daddy’s Day” (which it really is Down South) is you don’t exchange gifts. If you’re a daddy (OK, just to be politically correct, we’ll return to “father”), you get to receive and you don’t have to give.
Being a cheerful recipient is a lot more fun than pretending to be a cheerful giver.
But all too soon (did I mention two hours?), it was all over and the gathering went back to what it does best, the unadulterated love and worship of Ellison Kate Smith, McKenzie Katherine Smith, and Everlee Grace Smith.
The “Four Fathers” can be just as silly as anyone when it comes to their “begets,” especially if the “begets” are all girls. It didn’t bother me one bit that three absolutely gorgeous great-granddaughters, 4 and under, stole most of Fathers Day from me.
Now the lineage (in the biblical sense): George Houston beget Barry Stephen who beget Riley Stephen and James Tyler, all of which led up to Riley Stephen begetting “Mack” and James Tyler begetting “Ellie” and “Evey.”
Cody Houston Smith, beget by Barry Stephen Smith, has not yet done any begetting. A bit of an upside to that is if he stays the course, he won’t face bills for college tuition and weddings that Bill Gates can’t pay.
(I’m into 73 lines toward the 140 needed to get paid, but it also occurs to me this little essay is not going to be material for the fridge door.)
With all that said, a couple of things.
1. My Father’s Day gift is the best ever ... by three country miles.
2. I’m going to hold back what it is ’cept to say that if I never make it to heaven, I will have at least seen the Pearly Gates.
If you can guess correctly, I’ll buy your breakfast at Jack’s on Quintard, but you’ll have to pay for your own mustard.
I will tell you that my Father’s Day present did not come with handles. Unless the handle is on a dinner fork, a handle usually means work.
Son-and-current-heir has finally learned that his old man is very allergic to work. That dates back to my 10th year when I spent a lot of time behind a blankety-blank mare mule who thought she knew more than I did.
What I’m saying is there are three years in particular when my Father’s Day presents were:
1. A leaf blower.
2. A weed eater.
3. A hedge trimmer
Sitting in my barn tapping at the keys on a Toshiba laptop while listening to Willie Nelson sing “Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain,” “blower-weed eater-trimmer” makes me grateful for the life The Man upstairs blessed me with.
He’s also telling me that this is enough “begetting” of this little essay on the Greatest Father’s Day ever ... and ever.
Stay tuned for why ...