Posted by: philipfontana | June 14, 2012

Father’s Day 2012

Mother’s Day & Father’s Day


Parents’ Day


The models used by Grant Wood for his famous painting, “American Gothic,” 1930, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

     Excuse us for living, but for Mother’s Day we were just back from our UK trip, and I thought it imperative to catch-up and write about the latest news events. Shame on me for overlooking Mother’s Day! Maybe I can makeup for it here for Father’s Day. But from the title of this piece, I doubt it once you hear my latest thought.

You got it from the title! Should we replace Mother’s Day and Father’s Day with one day, Parents’ Day? Now, if you think I am crazy enough to attack “flag, apple pie, and Mother,” to change the familiar phrase, then join my “crazy club.” (Did you know Barbara Bush, the former First Lady of Bush 41, to this very day will not let her children honor her on Mother’s Day? She says it’s a commercial gimmick!) I am NOT recommending the idea of a Parents’ Day to replace Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I am merely raising the idea for your consideration and mine as well! Save me the trouble of making the arguments on behalf of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They are numerous, heartfelt, and more than justified. But likewise, consider the merits of a Parents’ Day! Save me that trouble too to make the case for a Parents’ Day. Just think about it! (The varied configurations of what comprises a family today lend themselves to a “Parents’ Day.”) There are many good things, good points, you can make on behalf of the idea. Let’s just leave it at that and let you comment…OK, attack me for raising the idea!

     Comments: What do YOU think…Mother’s Day & Father’s Day or Parents’ Day?

     What follows are two poems I wrote and sent home for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when I was 23 years old. I was serving in the U.S. Army for a year in Vietnam at the time I wrote them in 1970. And we all have to forgive me because every soldier overseas, particularly those engaged in a war, thinks he is a poet. I think it must be a temporary emotional thing combined with surplus time on one’s hands.

Anyway, for better or more like “worse,” here they are. In the first poem, I guess I was trying to comfort my mother. I was trying to say I understood what she was going through with a son at war. – -A bit self-serving and totally self absorbed. – -At twenty three!

And the second poem is a typical expression of that tug-of-war most young men go through with their fathers. They don’t see “eye-to-eye” on most everything. And as the young man grows out of it (and maybe the father too), respect and love emerge for one-another.

     It was fun rediscovering these two items in my Vietnam scrapbook.

A Woman’s Soldier

When a woman sends a soldier off to war

She wonders, “What’s the meaning? What’s it really for?”

Yet with faithful strength she manages though in tears

And hides her sorrow lest he know her fears.

When a woman sends a soldier off to war

She more than anyone knows the score.

For when that soldier is a son

No war can then be won

Until that Mother’s Son is home once more.

Man To Man

When a man has a man he calls his own,

He takes pride in the life he guides, provides, ‘til sown.

The little man grows up. The big man grows old.

And yet they grow together, so the story is told.

When a man has a man they are bound by a love,

Yet each is assigned his destiny from above.

Ideas, words, and acts may seemingly divide,

But given time there is no way to hide

The respect for each other man to man has won

That breeds from the love of a Father and Son.

        Comments: Poetry? “Don’t give up your day job!” Seriously, anything? I can take it!



  1. To Wonderful Parent’s. Geri and Phil, what a thrill to have three Great Sons. Many blessings we are enjoying. What a Beautiful New England weather pattern setting up for the weekend. Valid points made about the commercialization of days of tribute. Honor thy Mother and Father an old stand by. Phil your writing ability is marvelous. Potential unique insights offered from a long list of experiences. What a great teacher. Enjoy my friend and thanks again. Pacheeck.

    • Pacheeck! Happy Father’s Day!!! And the compliment returned to you & Mary Louise for the fine parenting you have done for Jamie & Jon & now a growing household with Jon & Mandy! Enjoy the weekend! And you are too gracious re my writing & content but appreciated coming from you! Thanks for always taking the time to comment. Phil

  2. Very sweet Phil. Appropriate thots of a 23 year old. I love the phrase “when a man has a man he calls his own,” that’s really good. Also touched by the fact your Dad only lived another six years.
    Although my father agreed with Mrs. Bush about “Hallmark holidays” (as he called them), I like Mother and Father’s days–a time for remembering AS WELL as being honored 🙂 Happy Father’s Day, cuz.

    • Viv!!! Thanks, Viv, for your nice words about that lyric line that came out of a 23 year old, coming from you as a writer yourself. Yes, who knew when I wrote this what six years later would bring? So many things do I revisit in this regard re “how many years were left.” I am sure this is a human experience you deal with as well. Never heard that one about “Hallmark holidays” & your Dad! Wonder, could you give him a card? Thanks, cuz, re Happy Father’s Day! Wishes to Scott as well! I’ll vote with you for honoring both days & Moms & Dads. But writing this DID make me pause when considering especially a child with one deceased parent. On that Mother’s or Father’s Day, when his teacher & peers at school are all a buz doing things for that parent, I wish it were just Parents’ Day. It must really
      hurt. Thanks again, Viv, & Love, Phil

  3. well Phyl…
    not bad for a young fella! you’re a poet and don’t know it…bwahahahaha!
    yeah, I agree, many such holidays are soooo commercial and the one biggie that comes to mind is valentines day…sheesh!!! I think we should leave it as it is….at least I get a day where I don’t need to cook…tee-hee….

    • Margaret!!! Thanks…I laugh at my writing at 23 & yet appreciate it for what it was. The commercialization I guess is what most of the criticisms are all about! Valentine’s Day!!! Good example!!! I vote to keep all these days myself. The only thing that gave me pause in considering a Parents’ Day, was the little boy or girl with a deceased parent. It would hurt so much less if it were just a Parents’ Day. Hope you take Jim out for dinner for Father’s Day so you don’t have to cook….tee-hee…back….Phil

  4. 3 remarks….
    1) All I can think on the old couple….”please eat our cornflakes…” so where’s the pitchfork?
    2) Dad’s poem is excellent and hits home, no matter where we’re from or whatever our backgrounds. It demonstrates your writing skills.
    3) Bill Bradley’s book and his solutions do not reflect a democratic view, especially liberal, and is more republican leaning. Maybe he’s mellowing or am I am out of touch and mis-interpreting?

    Keep up the great work and I hope your enjoyment is growing by leaps and bounds!


    • Thanks, Rusty! “American Gothic” connects for us all!!!! And nice compliment on that Dad poem. Thanks. To think I was 23 when I wrote it…maybe I lost that writing skill! Certainly RU’s Freshman Composition did not recognize any talents of mine by the grades! Many of us got the old Rutgers treatment in that class! On Bill Bradley I think you read him accurately. He really means it when he says this is not a platform to run for office. And thanks once again for the nice words of encouragement. Phil

  5. I enjoy your blog. And your poetry too. Glad you enjoyed GB. It’s almost as cool as NYC.

    • Thanks, Jim! Happy Father’s Day to us!!! I guess it’s Michigan time once again for the Krass family! We are off at this very moment for Erin & Andy’s place for a BBQ! Patrick is going to be there! Look forward to it! Hi, Margaret! Phil

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