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Attention All Fathers: Your Day is Coming

Attention All Fathers:  Your Day is Coming
By Dick Yarbrough
Attention All Fathers:  Your Day is Coming
By Dick Yarbrough

I have been called a lot of things in my long life and not all of them flattering. A few years back, I was referred to as an “Obama bed-wetting liberal” and a “racist redneck.” Both in the same week. Go figure.

What I like being called most of all, however, is Dad, as well as Pa. The former is how I am known to my kids and the latter by the grandkids and the great-grands who have come along in the interim.

I bring this up to remind us all that Sunday, June 16, is Father’s Day. This is our day, dads. A time to have a welldeserved fuss made over us. We don’t get quite the attention as Mother’s Day, but every little bit helps. Besides, if it wasn’t for fathers, where would all the mothers come from?

Unfortunately, you may have noticed how fathers are depicted in television commercials. We always look like a bunch of dodos that have to be rescued from our miscues by a patient and understanding wife and their two bemused kids, all shaking their heads at us and our foibles while we babble nonsense.

It makes me wonder if Dad is so stupid, why did Mom marry him in the first place? And why are we always made to look like airheads? My theory is that the twits who create those denigrating commercials collectively hate their fathers for having made them eat everything on their plate before being excused from the dinner table and are now getting even.

My daddy made me eat everything on my plate but I sure don’t hate him. As a matter of fact, I have spent my adult life trying to measure up to him. I’m not there yet and don’t ever expect to be.

Earl Yarbrough worked for the Railway Express Agency for 49 years and four months, mostly outside and mostly at night right up to his retirement day. In that time, which I calculate to be 2,596 weeks, he missed exactly three of those weeks and not one day more due to being hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. Today, that would probably be an outpatient procedure and he would likely leave the doctor’s office and head straight to work.

While my dad had only a seventhgrade education and a hard-scrabble upbringing, he lived long enough to see both of his boys graduate from college and go on to have successful careers in their respective fields.

To my brother and me, our father was never our buddy. He was our father. We didn’t go fishing with him or play pitch in the backyard or take family camping trips. Instead, we watched how hard he worked and observed his integrity, his honesty and his ability to discern right from wrong. He was remarkably consistent. Right was right and wrong was wrong and rationalization was not a part of his makeup. I’m not sure what he would make of the changing world in which you and I live today but I know he wouldn’t change. Not a whit. Right would still be right and wrong would still be wrong.

Today, far too many children don’t have a role model like my brother and I had. In fact, they have no father at all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 20 million children under the age of 18 — that’s 1 in 4 — live without a biological father, stepfather or adoptive father in the home. 67% of Black children in the United States under the age of 18 live in a fatherless home.

A group called the National Fatherhood Initiative says children in father-absent homes are more likely to live in poverty, experience teen pregnancies, have behavioral problems, drug issues, to drop out of school and to end up in prison. Where have all the fathers gone?

I am not likely a candidate for the Fathers Hall of Fame — if there were such a thing — but I somehow survived the experience. For my perseverance, I have two great kids and some very special grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Hard work but clearly worth the effort.

To all you dads out there, mark June 16 on the calendar and sit back and enjoy the day. Tell your corny and time-worn jokes — a Dad specialty — and let your family make a big to-do over you. You’ve earned it. And remember this: The older your kids get, the smarter you are going to look. That’s the best Father’s Day gift of all.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.

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