Celebrate Fathers Day in Music City

Fathers Day in NashvilleFather’s Day is Sunday, June 21st. For the 12th year, I will be celebrating Father’s Day with dad looking on from beyond. No card to send, no presents to buy, but I will have a moment – most likely sitting in the grass in my back yard, maybe with a bourbon, remembering.

Father’s Day is observed on the 3rd Sunday in June. It was started in the early 20th century as a compliment to Mother’s Day. The first Father’s day celebration is said to have been in Spokane Washington on Sunday, June 19, 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd, who was one of six children raised by a single father, wanted to honor him with a special day much like Mother’s Day. She brought the idea to her pastor who agreed and the first Father’s Day sermon was preached on this day.

Some memories of my Dad:

I will always remember his smile. His eyes would crinkle at the edges and there was so much mischief in his smile and behind those eyes. He was ready with a joke for any occasion, sometimes even a bit off color or not suitable for prime time. Dad was committed to his job at Vanderbilt University where he was a father figure to his many foreign students, far from home and family and always welcomed into ours. He taught Economics and Banking, but most remember him for his kindness and his gentle spirit. There was no need that went unmet for his students, personally and professionally. Dad had the purest bass voice. To this day, I can still hear him singing in the choir – hitting that C below middle C. Dad loved Dale Hollow lake and his cabin and boats. I think this place was his Heaven on earth where he could lay down all the cares and concerns of the day and just tinker and float life away. He passed this love along to most of his children and many of his grandchildren. He also introduced all of us to Boulder, CO where he taught many sessions of summer school at the University of Colorado. My last vacation with my Dad, just a few weeks before his death, was in Boulder.  Dad was probably best known, though, for his way with duct tape and marine tech. He fixed EVERYTHING with duct tape and marine tech, including, but not limited to his house shoes! I remember one pair of house shoes that seemed simply made of duct tape. Car lights, bathroom towel racks, fishing rods, maybe even a broken heart or two – fixed with duct tape!

As I have written in my last few blogs, I have had the honor of clearing out Mom and Dad’s home of the last 50 years, Dad having died almost 13 years ago and Mom now moved to a wonderful new home. Sifting through layers and layers, it was awhile before I got to the “Dad” layers. Empty lighter fluid cans, old lighters and ash trays from his smoking days, buckeyes from my favorite backyard trees (two I even named Old Charley and Charlene), travel brochures and notes in his hand writing of their many travels with Mom and their best friends, Mary Nelle and Billy Bryant, his favorite rings and pocket watches, newspaper articles about his children saved in old wallets and file drawers – some of good times and some not so good, banking records dating back to Princeton, NJ some 58 years ago, his family history written and saved for us, and the many gifts given to him from his students representing their homelands – so many treasures and memories which I was privileged to find. His desk, which Mom shared with him after his death and was FILLED TO CAPACITY with books, knicknacks and papers, was the task I saved until the end. I sorted through endless notes and cards, financials dating back before I could even remember and then I stumbled across this one file – which contained his dog tags from WWII. The force knocked me to the ground as wave after wave of emotions came flooding my heart and soul. A neighbor came over to see what I was doing just at this time, found me on the floor crying and went back to her home and brought me a beer. I didn’t really want or need it, but I drank it anyway with a salute to a time gone by.

Hindsight being what it is, that perfection of vision, but only appreciated after the vision starts to fade, has given me the knowledge that I was chosen for this job of sorting and searching and I am grateful to my great Guide for knowing that I needed this. I walked out of my childhood home on that day with no regrets and with a heart full of special memories, wearing my Dad’s dog tags around my neck and feeling his presence in my heart.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you and miss you.

Dad’s gift of music has passed on to his children, mostly in simply a great love for it. We have such a rich tradition of music in this great city. Just walk down the Honky Tonk Highway any day of the week. Lower Broad is lined with bars which pump out free music all day long, every day with no cover charge except for the tip jar. The same is true for Sobro, The Gulch, Midtown, Music Row-Demonbreun and Second Avenue – free music for all to hear and enjoy, anytime. Join the crowds and enjoy!

Another free day of music and fun will take place downtown on the 4th of July this year. Martina McBride will be the headliner with music from The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Gabe Dixon, The Weeks, Elise Davis and Dj DU – music for all tastes. Enjoy the McDonalds Family Fun Zone and Jack Daniel’s Main Stage on Broadway before the concert at River Front and, what has been being billed as the #2 must see fireworks display. This year, I understand the the planners are determined to make it the #1 fireworks display.  I plan on trekking downtown for the show, but this year I will not be in my pj’s, like I was last year.

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