A Father’s Day to remember

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Lori Conway and her daddoIt’s Father’s Day.  What is it that makes a father so special?  What really defines a dad or Father’s Day?  We thought we’d let Tulsa Today readers answer that question.

Lori Conway of Tulsa, writes, "Gift of the Gab, Soul of a Saint, Voice of Authority, Heart of Gold in a Barrel Chest.  These are a few characteristics to describe my dad.  Always playing the devil’s advocate to get conversation interesting.  Always telling the best stories about life experiences to get a roar from one or a crowd or just himself.  Always kissing my mother hello and goodbye over the last 40 years…even if it’s just to go into the backyard. From orphan to role model, I’m lucky to call him "my daddo".  Happy Father’s Day!!!"

“What I like best about my dad is that he is able to be absolutely honest and absolutely loving at the same time.” Jonathan Bartlett of Tulsa, a programmer and theology student.

“I think having a beautiful wife and three kids makes it so great for me.  They make it all worth it.  We are very blessed,” said Clayton Clark, First Time Candidate for Mayor.

“I suppose for me, Father’s Day, is about family and getting a chance to still make the daily mistakes and still everybody gives you a little more leeway because it’s Father’s Day.” –Josh McFarland, of Red Dog Construction.

“I think Father’s Day has become more special since my own father passed away. His passing made me concentrate more on being a good father to my children.  I realize now how special it is to be a father.  I have two children. One of them is a junior in college and the other is a senior in high school.  They are really great about making Father’s Day special for me.” Brian Gann, Program Director, KFAQ

“I have a 23 year old daughter who just got her first job at a newspaper. It makes me proud that my daughter went into the same industry that I did. Father’s Day is pretty special.  She is the only daughter I ever had.”  Bill Mitchell, KTUL News Reporter  

There are so many reasons we formally celebrate this holiday.  I am reminded of this through our reader communications and our political leaders.

In an email addressed from the White House, which detailed a penned note from the First Lady Michelle Obama, she shares her thoughts and a link to an article the President posted regarding Fathers everywhere. View here. http://www.parade.com/export/sites/default/news/2009/06/barack-obama-we-need-fathers-to-step-up.html  Seemingly, for each of us, there is someone who has touched us, someone that needs us, and someone who has helped shape us into who we are today.

Tulsa Today’s owner David Arnett speaks of these things in the newsroom as this article is being developed.  He pulls a book off the shelf–a hardbound collection of newsletters published in 1955 by the Tulsa Junior Chamber of Commerce, called “The Derrick.”

Looking at the March 5 edition, there is an article about Arnett‘s Dad.  The headline reads: Arnett Rejoins Derrick Staff.  He shares the article.
“Keith Arnett, for many months news editor of the Derrick Publication will again assume his duties in the capacity beginning March 1, Jim Maxwell, Director of the Derrick announced today.

Keith, shown above, has been a loyal, hard-working Jaycee member for over the past two years.  He in his new job will be responsible [for] the assignment of reporters to committee meetings, and will coordinate the writing aspects of the publication.

Keith has assisted on a number of Jaycee projects in the past including, State Fair, Operation Elephant, Fund Raising, and others.  Keith’s return to the Derrick is hailed with a great deal of enthusiasm by those who have worked with him in the past.  Directors of the various Jaycee Committees are requested to check with Keith on important meetings which may be coming up that they are interested in having Derrick Reporters assigned to.

New members, always the source of Jaycee writers in the past, are urged to contact Keith, for an assignment as a cub reporter on the publication.  One of the most beneficial and certainly the easiest ways, of learning Jaycee activities from the ground up.  Call Keith today or leave word at the Jaycee Office if you are interested [in] working on the Derrick.”

David’s Dad and Mom owned and operated the "Tulsa Blossom Shoppe" in Tulsa for over 15 years.  His Mom and Dad purchased it from his grandfather, Charles B. Arnett, who owned Tulsa Greenhouse.

“I knew my dad was very active in the Downtown Kiwanis, but I was a baby when he worked as an editor for the Jaycees,” David said.  “He never mentioned it.  Dad was like that.  He didn’t talk much (maybe because mom was always talking), but he worked harder than anyone I have ever known – always on the move doing something.”

He continued, “Dad cared greatly for God and family. He went with me on scouting trips. He taught me how to work for him in the shop (he appreciated free labor – could be an editor thing).”

Today, David’s father doesn’t always know him, as he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, but that doesn’t prevent David from trying to maintain a relationship.

“We talk about whatever is on his mind when I visit,” David said. “As mom shares mementoes (read "cleans out closets") sometimes they come to me.”

“This collection of Derricks, (which includes the article posted above) was presented to Dad by Jim Maxwell who later served as Mayor of Tulsa,” he said. “It is signed, ‘Keith, With my personal thanks for your help and hard work.’”

“You would think Dad would have mentioned the work near the beginning of my 25 odd years in journalism,” David said. “It doesn’t matter really, but the older I get, the more I wish I could talk with him on deeper levels than I was able to understand as a child.”

David says, on Father’s Day, he thinks of his dad more and realizes how precious the time was when he was a child. “We don’t realize how significant our fathers are sometimes until it is too late.”

Perhaps Rich Batten, of Colorado, illustrates how special fathers are in a piece that he wrote a few years ago the best:

One evening, author Neil Gaimon’s son was angry. Neil had said one of those things that parents say, like "isn’t it time you were in bed." His son looked up at him, furious, and said, "I wish I didn’t have a dad! I wish I had . . ." and then he stopped and thought, trying to think of what he would have instead of a father.

Arnett now most enjoys his grandkids
Finally he said, "I wish I had a goldfish!" That conversation gave birth to Gaimon’s book, "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish." Superbly illustrated by Dave McKean, the book is a hilarious adventure of a son searching for the dad he swapped.

As Batten’s story points out, our Dads endure a lot. Yet, they love us. That’s permanent. That’s part of why we love them so much.

Thank you, Dads, everywhere, for putting up with us all.  You taught us more than we ever told you.

Thank you.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 June 2009 )