AS MY MAILBOX is bombarded by new gadgets and ideas to get Dad for Father’s Day, I am sadly reminded that I no longer have someone I can call Dad. Indeed, My Little Bird’s staff members don’t have fathers either. But rather than bemoan this fact, we’ve decided to celebrate the main man in our lives with a little something that will make his day or at least make him smile because we thought about him.
Janet: According to my husband (who happens to be a father, too), Saul Steinberg got his famous 1976 New Yorker cover all wrong. Instead of New York City, it should have pictured Pittsburgh, which to him is the center of the world. At one time in his life he was a representative to the state legislature in Pennsylvania but he was also in the music business (it’s complicated). In any case, my colleague suggested that I tell him about “Pittsburgh’s Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a history of the many rock-and-roll artists and groups that came out of the city in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. I forgot to tell him, so now I have the ideal gift for him. The only downside is that I’ll have to listen to him read me excerpts that he thinks I need to know about while I’m enjoying my latest summer thriller.
Anne: This Father’s Day we’ve decided to finally say YES to all the suggestions we hear weekend after weekend in our house. “Who wants to go on a hike? How about some tennis…just 20 minutes? A bike ride, a swim? Let’s kick the ball around.” Unfortunately these requests are usually met with eye rolls or completely ignored by our preteen and teen daughters. So, this year Father’s Day is going to be an adventure that is perfectly fit for dad. First we’re going to head to a diner for breakfast (mom always says no to that) and then we’re off to the Billy Goat Trail, no whining guaranteed, for Dad’s favorite nearby hike. We’ve also decided to fulfill last weekend’s request that only my nephews responded positively to: Jurassic World at iPic Pike & Rose, where he can have an ice cold beer and all the popcorn he wants. After watching countless episodes of How i (Mira says the I is not capitalized) Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, it’s definitely time for the girls in the house to see his choice. The Father’s Day weekend will be topped off with a baseball game. His favorite team just happens to be in town to take on the Nats! I think we can do this for one day for the dad who puts up with all the girls in the house even with an eye roll of his own here and there! Poor Paul- he’s got more energy than they can handle! I got him a hammock.
Kathy: My husband has everything. EVERYTHING! He denies himself nothing. He wants it. He buys it, thereby making gift-giving a singular challenge. Anything I think he might like he’s already bought. However, he didn’t have an Apple Watch. In fact, he actually scoffed a bit at the notion of owning Apple’s latest contribution to the digital age.
His words of dismissal stuck in my mind on a recent visit to the Apple store in Georgetown. But when, merely out of curiosity, I paused at the watch display just to see what the chatter was all about I knew instantly that if he were there he’d be buying one in every style. He’s a watch freak. He loves watches the way women love shoes. Can’t have enough. Finally something I could give him before he got around to buying it himself.
Does he need something to keep track of his heartbeat and pulse? Not really. Will he appreciate being reminded to stand up every few minutes? Possibly not. Will it matter that he can check text messages on his wrist when his iPhone is just inches away in his pocket? I doubt it. But the Apple Watch is just so ridiculously cool looking with all its apps and features promising untold hours of entertainment that before you know it you’re digging for your credit card while hoping he finds the watch as irresistible as you do.
Nancy: In my house growing up, Father’s Day was about the same as Christmas–a carton of Pall Malls and a bottle of premium Scotch (you know those academic types). Dad Bill is long gone, but other Bills remain–bro Bill, bro-in-law Bill, nephew Will (as you might imagine, Christmas gift tags here are very complicated).
The big difference is that these guys have interests, enthusiasms. I reserve the Johnnie Walker Blue (for bro-in-law Bill) and fancy cycling equipment (for bro Bill) for Christmas; Dad’s Day brings forth more modest offerings. One of the Bills is a father, another is an adoptive father, the third a future father. But it takes all kinds of fathers to make Father’s Day, right?
Mary: My son Edmund might be the only person under 30 who still wears a wristwatch. Also, he spent two years in Detroit after graduating from the University of Michigan and became fond of the city. So I’m considering one of the temptingly elegant watches from Shinola, a company that boasts of creating jobs in that needy city.
On the other hand, I’ve heard Edmund grumble that Shinola isn’t a Detroit company, because it’s owned by Bedrock Brands, based in Texas, and that while the watches are assembled in Detroit, their innards are made in Switzerland.
Because I’m a gift giver who usually needs to doublecheck with recipients ahead of time, I’m glad to have a few more days in which to ponder this dilemma.