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    Don’t forget to call ‘Dad’ on his day



    Story by Chuck Cannon 

    Fort Polk Public Affairs Office

    FORT POLK, La. — It’s been written that more collect calls are made on Father’s Day than any other day of the year.
    What’s sad is that it takes a holiday for many of us to make time in our “busy” days to spend a few minutes on the telephone with the man who most likely worked 40-plus hours a week his entire adult life to make sure we had shoes on our feet, clothes on our backs, food on our table and shelter over our heads.
    These “fathers” come in all shapes and sizes: Tall or short, slim or hefty, book smart or street smart. One thing they have in common: Most of them would do anything for their offspring.
    My dad was a big man and could be intimidating without trying. A lot of my friends, especially when we were kids, were scared of him. At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 250-plus pounds, I could understand their concern when they first met him. But those who became close friends of mine — and grew to know my dad — knew otherwise.
    He was known as “Mr. Rod” to those that learned to seek advice from him on any sports topic, whether it was how to block out on a rebound, the proper way to catch a football away from your body, or how to stretch for a throw from an infielder at first base. It seemed he could answer any sports question.
    I remember the time Dad sent my little brother, Mike, down to the field at half time of a football game we were losing to tell us, “Dad said if ya’ll don’t start playing better, he’ll have you in the backyard tomorrow.” Our coach looked at us and said, “I don’t think anything else has to be said.”
    He was right.
    I won’t pull any punches here — an ironic choice of words — because Dad could, as Andy Griffith once said in “No Time For Sergeants,” “really put a whopping on ya.” Today he probably would have gotten in trouble, but the fact is, every time I got a whipping, it came on the heels of my doing something wrong or stupid. And as a rule, all it took was one and I never did that deed again.
    But Dad also had a tender side. Pop music star Dan Fogelberg once wrote his father possessed, “a thundering velvet hand.” That goes a long way toward describing my dad. The same man that was physically daunting broke down in tears when he saw me carrying his first grandchild and my oldest son, Mickey, aboard a plane for Germany during my military career. Mother told me she had only seen Dad cry once before — when his dad died.
    Dad’s not with us anymore, but there is rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I can vividly recall the evenings when I was a youngster that I spent watching him tune the radio to an LSU football game. We would lie across the bed and listen to his beloved Tigers, cheering — or groaning — depending on the play.
    But it’s baseball when season I miss Dad and our sports talks the most. You see, Dad was a Red Sox fan and I’m a diehard Yankees fan, so we often found ourselves rooting against each other, but in a friendly way. And if our team was out of the playoff hunt, we pulled for the other team.
    There are many other tales I could share about my dad, but this sums it up: He wasn’t perfect, but he loved us — Mom, Beth, Mike and me — and we never had to question that love.
    This Father’s Day, if your dad is still around, give him call — collect if you want. I’m sure he won’t mind. I wish I still could.



    Date Taken: 06.14.2018
    Date Posted: 06.14.2018 15:54
    Story ID: 280970
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 

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