Monday, June 18, 2012

Reader's Diary #837- Hugh Garner: The Father

This morning my son gave me a Father's Day book he made at school. It followed a pattern that went "Mon papa aime..." and he filled it in with things I love:

"Mon papa aime la télévision."
 Okay, I thought, didn't think I was that big of a couch potato, but the accompanying drawing of me lying on the couch with a remote control is a bit of a wake up call.

"Mon papa aime travailler."
Really? I mean I like my job, but did I give that strong of an impression? Starting to get into "Cat's in the Cradle" territory here.

"Mom papa aime Tim Hortons."
That's about right.

"Mon papa aime pêcher."
Umm. Fishing? I'm not sure who he's thinking about here. We maybe went fishing together twice, as we were invited along by other people. Nor do I ever mention fishing. Not a fisherman. At all.

"Mon papa aime patiner."
Now it's getting strange. At 6, he's already a better skater than I am. I was 30 before I even learned how to stop. Is this the father he imagines me to be? The one he secretly wants? Who is this fishing, skating dad?

Hugh Garner's "The Father" is about that very common theme found in masculine lit: daddy issues. In this case it's about a father who realizes that he has drifted apart from his son, hardly knowing who he is anymore. Alcohol seems to have played at least some part in this divide. He tries to make amends for it by attending a father-son banquet the Boy Scouts are putting off. However, the man's efforts are rather pathetic, and it's certainly a case a "too little, too late."

It's well written but yeah, it's a bit of a bummer. As for me, my son's book ends by breaking the "My papa aime..." pattern and switches it to "J'aime papa."

While he may not know who exactly who I am, there ain't no daddy issues there. We had a fabulous Father's Day together. Breakfast in bed, a bike ride, a picnic, a game of cards, dinner, and a movie (in front of the TV).

J'aime mes enfants.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Buried In Print said...

My step-daughter made a booklet like that for her dad a couple of years ago and we had the same experience. Some of it was perfect (aime le chocolat), but there were a few that we were shaking our heads at as well (and not travailler or pecher) though I can't remember which, as it was packed in a memory box for our last move. But for a couple of years when it was on display we got regular chuckles from the odd bits that didn't seem to suit "this dad" at all!

John Mutford said...

Buried in Print: Sort of reminds me of that Cosby show episode when Cliff takes out all the bad father's day clothes/gifts.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Maybe he was talking about his other dad...

Teena in Toronto said...

I just heard about 49th Shelf ...

It's focused on Canadian books and you can narrow it down to any area in Canada. It looks cool!