Florence Snyder: Happy Father’s Day to all the honorary recipients of the Joseph Snyder Professorship in Generosity
This is my sixth Father’s Day without my father. I can’t say that I miss the heart-to-heart talks because we didn’t have very many. Like most men of what Tom Brokaw christened “the greatest generation,” Daddy wasn’t an emo guy.
When I was away at school, my mother and grandmother and even my big brother would send me cards and letters filled with neighborhood gossip and newspaper clippings and “I can’t wait ‘til you’re home’
Daddy did not write letters. Instead, he’d cook up excuses for unannounced visits and it annoyed me no end to be “checked up on.”
My roommates, on the other hand, were delighted with the bags full of groceries and goodies he always brought, and how he checked under their car hoods with as much care and concern as he checked under the hood of the green Camaro with the white racing stripe that he and Mom bought me for high school graduation. Even then, I knew that they were living below their means so that I could have things I had not earned.
Daddy didn’t talk much about civility. Rather, he lived it. Being as how he spent all of World War II in the savage Pacific theater, other outcomes were possible.
If I had a dollar for everyone for whom Daddy mixed a drink, fixed a meal, or solved a problem, I could endow a Joseph Snyder Professorship in Generosity.
Daddy’s idea of being selfish was the time and money he spent as a Rotarian. For decades, he would get to his weekly Rotary meeting, even if he and Mom were vacationing on another continent. When he took inactive status, I knew it was time to begin thinking about what Life Without Father might look like.
Sometimes when I’m sad and scared, I put on one of Daddy’s sweaters and sit in his favorite chair. It works every time.
Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at email@example.com
(Photo credit: key kai da)