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Carnes: Distance irrelevant for fathers

This past weekend held a certain day set aside for American fathers of all stripes and colors.

Sure, Father’s Day is a made-up holiday of sorts that started with good intentions back in 1910, but it didn’t really take off as a recognized day by the masses until Lyndon B. Johnson made it official in the mid-1960s to take everyone’s mind off all the young fathers he was sending to their deaths in Vietnam.

Or it was something like that. Hey, I was a little kid at the time.



Anyway, it’s different for each of us males who have had successful sex, but of course this depends upon one’s definition of “successful.”

For the Carnes men, it’s self-explanatory, as this past weekend the fathers ranged from a 19-month-old on the young end to a 92-year-old on the opposite side of the age spectrum (the youngest, duh, is not a father yet, but would not exist if not for his father).



Problem was, only two of us were actually together this time, which is becoming more and more the norm. To quote the most philosophical Beatle, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

As I’m sure happens to most families eventually, kids grow up, leave the nest, follow their own paths and end up all over the map, making it damn near impossible, or at the very least harder and harder, to get everyone together for any specific time of year.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two biggies, but Mother’s Day and Father’s Day’s run a close third and fourth.

My father, the oldest, is 1,000 miles south down in Texas, and sadly, at the stage where he doesn’t remember being a father, much less anything else. In fact, most days he’s living in a mental fantasyland where mom is still alive, his bank needs constant attention and the damn cicadas are making a mess of the yard.

One out of three ain’t bad for reality at this point, especially when dementia has removed all the memories of the physical pain he has suffered the last decade or so.

Our oldest (34) is now experiencing his own Father’s Day for the second time as dad to his 19-month-old son, and my bride and I had the pleasure of spending it with his family up in McCall, Idaho, where they’re planning on moving in the not-too-distant future.

It’s about 1,000 miles northwest of here.

That was nice, but our other two boys (30 and 22) are spread out from Denver to Seattle, the chances for all of us being together becoming slimmer and slimmer each trip around the sun we survive.

They will, hopefully, become fathers at their own pace, and the odds of us all being together at any point in time will continue to decrease as the odds of them having their own family will increase at a similar rate.

But I’m OK with it, as no matter the distance or time between spending quality time together, or even a simple phone call from 1,000 miles away, we’re still just as much a proud father either way.

And that’s what really matters.


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