I had a long-standing tradition when my father was living. Every year, I would buy a book to give him for Father's Day — a book that I was certain my mother, and later my stepmother, would read, instead.
This philosophy of gifting with another person in mind was cultivated from years of trying to find the perfect gift for the man for whom it was impossible to shop. One year, Dad even went out and purchased a new La-Z-Boy™ Recliner for himself the week before Father’s Day. Who does that?
“It was the best price I’d seen all year,” Dad said, missing the holiday connection.
Dad had lots of hobbies. He never stuck with any of them long enough to become reliable shopping list wellsprings.
The ubiquitous Father's Day tie was out. Dad wore lots of ties at work. However, as a television sportscaster, there were wardrobe rules to follow on the set. My brother and I never tried it, but we always wanted to buy a tie that would “disappear” on the television chroma key. (Think “green screen,” although in Dad’s time, it was often blue.)
His passion was golf. Regrettably, Dad was always fully stocked. He received so many freebies as a result of his sports connections, none of his sons ever had the opportunity to add to his golfing armory.
So the duty of gift fulfillment fell to the book.
Dad loved to read. Sports books seemed the logical gift choice. However, his reading tastes were as shifting as a Dubai sand trap. Consequently, a book might spend months serving as his iced tea doily before he ever got around to cracking the cover. Years ago I began buying books that the women in his life would enjoy, just to give the book something to do in the meantime.
If you are in the market for a Father’s Day offering this year, here are a few gift books. See if they sound good to you:
ARNIE: THE LIFE OF ARNOLD PALMER
Tom Callahan (2017)
A respected sportswriter, Callahan has no trouble filling his book with great stories from the Palmer legacy. Arnie would be a sure hit with Dad.
STING LIKE A BEE: MUHAMMED ALI VS. THE USA, 1966-71
Leigh Montville (2018)
Especially if you are of a certain generation, questions get answered. Montville puts into perspective how, in the midst of social unrest, a fighter becomes a conscientious objector.
CADDYSHACK: THE MAKING OF A HOLLYWOOD CINDERELLA STORY
Chris Nashwaty (2018)
Sounds like the stories we didn’t know (until now) outpace those in the comedy classic.
THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR
Jennifer Ryan (2017)
This is the book I’d end up buying. This WWII novel is really a women’s bonding story in disguise — the perfect sneak attack for Father’s Day.
Give you any ideas? I hope so. For us, a book seemed to satisfy the man who always proclaimed that “All I want is to be with you boys.”
More than a book, we’d give anything to have it so, Dad.
John O. Marlowe spent most of his career as a “pine-time” player, and was football's first DH (dummy holder) for Wabash College in the late 1970's. New to the art of the sports beat writer, Marlowe has spent forty years – and nearly $11,000 – following Indiana high school sports.