They come in all sizes and shapes, don’t they? They come short and fat in baseball caps, tall and skinny in cowboy Stetsons.

They’re roofers and ranchers, actors and acrobats, gondoliers and gangsters, presidents and preachers. All kinds.

Jack Kennedy was a politician, his father was a gangster and a rum-runner, who moved men around like chess pieces, including his sons.

Well, it’s their day. It’s Father’s Day, the celebration in which all of America’s florist shops are closed.

Today, florists and their help: the arrangers, delivery drivers and accountants, will be home in their backyards, barbecuing caterpillars and having a couple of beers.

Did I forget the greeting card aisle? Mother’s Day cards are more plentiful than ticks at weddings in the park. Father’s Day cards are at the end of the aisle, near stationary.

Father’s Day used to fall into stereotypes as in the serious ones, with a pipe-smoking old guy in a Mr. Rogers sweater sitting by a fire.

They were like the ones my mother always sent me, that showed a fella standing in knee-deep water angling for trout, or walking in a field with a couple of dogs and a hunting rifle.

I think those are the roles she imagined I’d fill. I suspect she gave up looking for an actor or writer card.

I’ve been watching this special day now for several years, and it all turns out to be a big flop.

On Mom’s Day, you can’t walk through the front door of your local supermarket without stumbling over heaps of roses, kicking over tulip displays, rows of daisies, orchids and Dr. Zhivago’s sunflowers. Daddy will be happy to get a dandelion for his lapel, like I once did from my girls.

On this day, Mom’s iPhone (oh, yes, she has one, even the oldest Moms got one last year) is buzzing with calls from every state in the union, some European cities, soon from outer space.

I always called my mom, no matter where I was: a telephone booth on a highway between Waco, Texas, and New Orleans; a theater in New York; backstage at a nightclub; or in bed with a girl she had never met.

Daughters, especially daughters, are good at honoring their mothers. Her day is like Queen Elizabeth at our house.

The old man’s special day, started in 1907, but didn’t even really get kick-started until 1972, so daddies my age didn’t grow up with it.

If mine were here on this Father’s Day, I think he would put his uniform on, and we would walk down Michigan Avenue to a corner bar, and have a last beer together.

I would take his hand crossing the street, as he always did mine. Oh, him? Yes. Him.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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