Feed on

Fathers' Day 2007Shopping for Father’s Day stinks. While merchants have untold numbers of yummy and lovely presents on display for mom, the dad displays tend to feature bad cologne, useless golf gadgets, barbecue items, and joke ties. Where’s the respect? I’ve seen these bad displays for ages, but my dad usually requests “no gifts” for Father’s Day, so I haven’t given the sad little displays much thought in the past.

This year I came up smack against it when I attempted to shop for my dad, Jim, and Matt. My idea was to get each a book to read to Simon. Matt’s would be about dads, and Jim’s and my dad’s would be about grandfathers. Easy, right? I mean, how hard could it really be to find heartfelt books about dads and grandfathers when the shelves are full, well nigh teaming, with books about moms and grandmothers?

Bloody impossible is how hard it could be. The Father’s Day display at Borders was embarrassingly thin, featuring not only the usual suspects–books about barbecue and golf were prominently displayed–but also, embarrassingly, anything the staff thought seemed like a guy book. Which is to say WWII and investing.

The going got no better in the children’s section. For every book written about dads, there must be fifty about moms. I had already gotten Matt one book about animal babies and fathers, but wanted to get him another one or two. I had to settle for one Dad book and one book about sleepy bunnies. I could have done better shopping online, but then you can’t read all the text and see the pictures before you buy, which I think is a no-no in children’s literature.

Then I went looking for grandfather books and the pickins got even slimmer. The entire store seemed to have four offerings, which I think says a lot about the state of grandfatherdom in the twenty-first century:

  1. The Grandpa Book. From what I can tell, this picture book designed to explain what a grandfather is to kids who live a thousand miles or so from theirs. As I was hoping for something the grandfathers could read to Simon, this book was out.
  2. The next book featured grandfathers doing all sorts of things with their grandsons. I can’t remember the name now. This looked promising until page 5 or so when Grandpa took Grandson to church and they celebrated Christmas together. Last time I checked, grandfathers named “Zadie” do not go to church. So for my dad at least, this was also a bust.
  3. I Already Know I Love You. This title was written by Billy Crystal, nearly a strike against it right there. Then I read it. Yuck! Really corny and filled with bad rhymes and metaphors. I hope Simon’s Zadie and Papaw are both too cool for this one. Plus, it is about loving your grandchild before he or she is even born, which to my mind is just begging your children to ask questions you don’t want to answer before their time. So no to this one, too.
  4. What’s Happening to Grandpa? Yes, a book about Alzheimer’s. Written by Maria Shriver, so another celebrity offering to boot. Endorsed by Nancy Reagan no less. Need I say more?

So that’s it. My quest for grandpa books yielded not one that would be fun for Simon’s grandpas to read to them. What’s happening to Grandpa? indeed.

Thankfully, our Father’s Day proceeded well despite the absence of quality literature. In the first place, just having my Dad attend was a plus, as on Thursday he had to go the emergency room with poor kidney functioning. (We’re hoping it was merely dehydration, but will know more later this week.)

In the second place we began the day with a fun outing to the zoo, and any day that includes a baby elephant can’t be all bad.

And in the third place, if my presents weren’t so good, at least Simon’s scored. See accompanying photo to check out how Simon, cool baby that he is, decked out his dad, his Papaw, and his Zadie in cool aloha wear to match his own.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.