Ken Donaldson: The Day of the Father 2010

Here’s a story I wrote about my dad back in 2004. A tribute to all dads on this 2010 Father’s Day!



My dad woke up one morning last week feeling, as he put it, “Not quite right and a bit wobbly”. In being the strong-willed, tenacious, non-complainer that he is, he figured it was just part of the package of being 80 years old. However, after a few days of these lingering effects, he decided to go see his doctor. Upon calling the doctors office, he was told that they had an appointment opening in ten minutes. He took it knowing that my mom had their only car and he would, therefore, need to ride his bike about a mile up to the clinic. Once he got there and saw the doctor, my dad was directed to go to the hospital A.S.A.P. to be further evaluated. He told the doc that he would ride his bike home, call my mom, and go to the hospital.

“Ride your bike??!!….You rode your bike here??!!” exclaimed the doctor.

You see, the doctor suspected that my dad may have had a stroke, hence, his very strong reaction to bicycle riding.

My dad went to the hospital (my mom picked him up at the doctor’s office, and they put the bike in the trunk of their car); had all the tests and various scans; and in the end it was determined that he did, in fact, have a minor stroke.

I spoke to him after he got back home from all the testing and although he said he felt a bit tired, he was quite okay overall. You see, my dad is always okay, and that is why I am embracing this day as my own personal Father’s Day…..A day for me to reflect on and have gratitude for all that my dad has given to me. I would like to share some that with you.

Tenacious – My dad doesn’t quit and although his tenacity boarders on full-blown stubbornness at times, he is quite the model of following-through to the end, in spite of adversities.

Keeping What Works – My dad was quite a basketball player. At five feet nine inches, and weighing in at about 160 pounds, he was never very big, but he played big with his old-fashioned two-handed set-shot. Nothing too fancy; just a little “shake-and-bake”, and then swish. I can remember seeing him hit four, five, and six in row. He kept what worked because it worked for him and there was no reason to change it.

Commitment – My dad has been married to my mom for over 55 years, and although I don’t quite understand their relationship some of the time, they have stuck together through “hell and high-water”. Their commitment to their relation, and to each other, speaks of a loyalty that is quite uncommon today.

Adventure – My dad has a great sense of adventure. We traveled and camped a lot in my growing up years. We took 6 weeks one summer and camped all the way across the U.S., from New York to the Pacific coast, and back again. I got a great appreciation of “roughing it” and the outdoors….I am sure that has a lot to do with my persistent desire to travel to new places whenever I can.

Spirituality – Although my dad and I have a very different spiritual path, I am grateful for having been brought up in an environment that had some spiritual emphasis in it. I don’t know where I would be today without my spirituality.

Creativity – Although he will adamantly deny it, my dad is very creative. Especially so in the way he uses his space and his resources.

Problem Solving – Perhaps a bit over-zealous at times (He has been known to create problems which he then has to resolve), my dad is a master at brain-storming and working out a problem. He is a great “fixer”.

Smart – My dad is smart….real smart, but rather humble about it (except when we are playing a board game or card game, then he gets “smartly competitive”). I’m sure that a significant part of the various intelligences that I have today are a direct result of my dad’s role modeling.

Love – My dad loves me. Although he was not as available as I would have liked in my growing up years; was grumpy and crabby at times; and has been emotionally distant at other times, I know without a doubt that my dad loves me. He has always been there when I needed him and he has been an amazing provider. I know that I would not be where I am in my life today if it was not for his abundant love and support.

I share all this with you today for one reason: All we have is today and we do not know what tomorrow will bring or take away. If you have resentments towards a loved one, I invite you to work through them and let them go. If you haven’t told a loved one lately how much you care about them, then pick the phone and do that today. I know I’m sounding a bit preachy, and yet I do believe this message needs to be heard.

I invite you, and challenge you, to create an “attitude of gratitude” by looking at what you DO have a result of your relationships with others. It is so much easier, and so much lighter, to be grateful than it is to be resentful.

Furthermore, I invite you to create your own day; your father’s day, mother’s day, brother’s or sister’s day, or friend’s day. Celebrate the gratitude, and spread the good news. After all, all you have is today….

And Happy Father’s Day!


Marry YourSelf First!

About Ken Donaldson

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