My paternal father was a Drill Sergeant in the United States Army. Once stationed in Bamburg, Germany he moved my mother, brother and me to base. One icy night in December, two weeks before Christmas and his birthday, he was killed on the Autobahn.
I wasn’t raised by my paternal father. But I had a father.
Charles “Pookey” Blount reared me, my brother, and this new addition to our family called “baby sister.” He was the father who showed up at school and cursed out teachers for “talking to my child any kind of way” he was the father who taught me “no boxing is not gross, it is a sport, you see that! Watch that, punch, counter punch, it’s a skill.” From washing walls on a Saturday (because cleanliness is next to Godliness) and picking lint off the carpet with bare hands until it looks like it was vacuumed (because beating you would be too easy) to bringing home chicken sandwiches with ketchup on them from the Hamilton Grill on 6th Street and All night Drive-In movies (because a good report card is his treat) he instilled important life lessons on being fair, balanced and honest and it was his discipline tempered with message that stays with me today.
He was the calming force in a family that could get volatile yet the sh*t storm if you dared mess with anyone under the umbrella of protection he provided.
My father never smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol or got high. He is a martial artist, and my first introduction to visual art. As a child I had a natural talent for drawing and no one but “daddy” had the skill needed to encourage his daughter who was a visual learner. I remember the day he drew a circle on a piece of paper. He took his pencil and filled the center of the circle, left to right, dark to light. Using his finger to smudge the circle until it became a ball appearing to magically rise off the paper. He drew a shadow at the bottom of the ball explaining how the shadow would land based on how the light hit the ball. Then he handed me the pencil. “Your turn.” His creativity showed up on paper, upholstering furniture and for two years in our driveway I watched him take a simple Volkswagen and turn it into a Rolls Royce. I am not exaggerating on that, he entered it into the car show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg and it was spectacular. My favorite part was the champagne bar that rose up and down mechanically.
This man, who bore no blood relation to me, put all the same energy and love into raising me as he put into his own flesh and blood daughters. I never felt different, even when I treated him differently during my adolescent revolt.
He was, and remains, my platform and foundation for the shape of a man. Through him I learned subtle things about what a man is and can be.
To this very day if I need a man to handle something for me – it is my “daddy” I call on first. He has earned my undying love and respect. Because I am protected by his love inside the fatherhood circle and what’s going on outside of that circle is no concern of mine.
Today is the nationally dedicated day made specifically to celebrate the Father’s of the world.
The word “Father” is both a noun (a man in relation to his natural child /the oldest or most respected member of a society or other body) and a verb (to treat with protective care / to be the source or originator of) and Father’s Day is an Annual day designated the third Sunday in June for children all over the globe to pay honor and tribute to their fathers.
This is not Happy “to the single women holding it down” Day. It’s not Happy “to the real Dads out there” Day.
It is Father’s Day.
Ultimately the onus to choose a mate to procreate with lies with us. Raising son’s alone with a bitter taste in your mouth and on your tongue will scorch the ears of your child. If you think a child can decipher the difference between your scorns for one man and not interpret it as scorn for all men, including them, then you can applaud your success in putting another angry, ill equipped, relationship retarding black man into the gene pool.
If you are going to fervently acknowledge the obvious fact that there are deadbeat fathers in this world, then double down and acknowledge that you chose that man therefore you have deadbeat decision making skills.
On this day I pray a harvest of strong, remarkable, men who will stand at the head of our families & guide us on the right path.
A daddy’s love is the foundation for a daughter’s love search. It’s the son’s interpretation of manhood.
What a father (man) emotionally reaps the community will physically sow.
Fathers groom your son’s to be the head of their homes with God at the head of their heart. Mothers fall in line.
Iya Isoke © 6/19/11