Looking back, I don’t know if it was fate or some other four-letter word that my dad James Harold Hargis died five months after my daughter Taylor was born in 1992.
I don’t believe I ever thought about it con·sciously until this minute, but I became a father the same year I lost mine.
I would always get a dad a book, usually sports, for his special day. If we were lucky, we would have an NBA Finals game to watch at some point during that day.
His love of sports, IU, Pacers, Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath, was passed down to me and became our special bond. I can still hear him telling me to relax and sit down while watching a game. He always was as cool as a cucumber.
Fast forward some 29 years, can that be possible, and the plan was for me to spend Father’s Day at Taylor’s house in Terre Haute. But as someone said one, “We plan. God laughs.”
The storms that rolled through the Wabash Valley on Friday night did a number on the power lines on 11 1/2th Street in Terre Haute.
So Taylor and her family were going to be without power for a while, about 48 hours as it turned out.
Her and husband Zachery decided to divide and conquer. Zach and their oldest Allison would stay in Terre Haute, using battery operated fans and a foil-lined box and ice used to create a homemade air conditioner. Very ingenious.
That meant Taylor and 11-month old James would come to my humble abode on E. Harris St. in Sullivan and stay a couple of nights.
So began what I called the Father’s Day Blackout or Father’s Day Campout.
Taylor usually takes me to dinner at my favorite place — Steak and Shake — but that couldn’t have happened this year because I believe they are still closed to inside dining.
She brought watermelon, my second favorite summer delight to tomatoes — and it was like a few Father’s Day from the past where we would partake of a cold one (watermelon) and devour it at a shady picnic table at a nearby park. One of my favorite pics was of this very thing, though someone commented about me having a knife in my hands and a smile on my face.
We did not go to the park, everything is more difficult with a little one in diapers, but we ate while baby James, named after my dad, napped.
The second night we had pizza, breadsticks and salad. Like my late wife Trish and because of her, Taylor is a great cook.
But Father’s Day Blackout was more about the time we got to spend together than what we ate. It was unusual to have this much time to catch up as her life — job, home, husband and two kids — keeps her even busier than I am.
I must admit it was great to have the house filled with noise again, even if at times it was a screaming baby exercising his lungs while hungry or wet.
I am used to the noise of the TV, an occasional phone call or my own voice yelling at referees or verbally reminding myself of my schedule for the next day.
One of my presents was an Autism Speaks Bracelet, which I proudly wear in honor of my granddaughter.
So come Monday morning, the power was back on and our Father’s Day weekend was over.
When you start to get my age, you realize that you are pretty damn close to the winter of your life. The movie “Finding Forrester” talked about life unfolding like the four seasons.
With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder how many more Father’s Days I will get to spend on this earth? But for a guy that was a confirmed bachelor into my 30s until my late wife Trish got out the 2x4 and went upside my head (my definition of falling in love), I have been very lucky to have had a great life.
Though all of the Father’s Days I have been through as a son and father have been special, I think Father’s Day 2021, by any name, won’t be forgotten by Taylor or myself for a long time.