Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 18, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 9


Happy Father’s Day

 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 18, 2011 


When I was growing up one invariably heard the 
taunt, “Don’t waste them, you only have so many 
brain cells.” This juvenile joust afflicted my small 
part of the world, so you may rightly conclude that 
I wasn’t raised in the toughest of neighborhoods. 
But these squares knew the science of the time. For 
the persistent scientific belief of our age was that the 
brain didn’t reproduce cells. Considering the mass 
volume of brain matter I jettisoned during those formative 
years, I felt a sense of relief and pardon when 
science finally pronounced that new brain cells are 
created in the mind. Today as I contemplate the 
grandeurs and glories of this world and the universe 
above, I have become persuaded that the most captivating 
element of existence is a singular source here 
on earth; that of a beautiful mind.

As science unravels the mechanics of the mind and 
the mysteries of that gray world, intriguing discoveries 
are being shed on the storage of memories. My 
mother, who is a thoughtful observer and lacks the 
trained skill of a scientist, insists that our memories 
never perish, but instead, bundle in film like images. 
Forming a warehousing for the prolific and for the 
monotonous books we have scoured, as well as the 
numerous half alert conversations we have unwillingly 
partnered in. She believes that those deep and 
shallow footprints of the mind are cast in permanent 
molds and remain impervious to the hands of time 
which entombs so many of these ancient images. For 
her, the mind requires a mere whim, or creature of 
a thoughtless day to introduce a classified code, one 
that is only known to the deeper engines of the mind, 
and once produced, hails the release of a long jailed 

For much of my life I was certain she was mistaken. 
I had lost scores of impressions to the passage 
of time, and I had seldom re-mined them from the 
graveyard of memories, but incredibly, I have come 
to accept the veracity of her thinking. For I often find 
myself reading a book and my mind drifts to a parallel 
passage in another book. A book that I have been 
unable to champion in a solitary thought for ages, 
aside from the isolated acknowledgement of resignation, 
the resignation that I was once inspired by this 
magnificent book, but wholly incapable of grasping 
the vehicle of that inspiration. Whether it is the tone 
of the writing, the pattern of words, or the parallel 
events of the story that resurrects the treasured 
thought of this memory, I scarcely know. But I am 
always struck by the impressive nature of this visiting 

As I was considered Father’s Day this year my 
mind heralded a place of memories and an impulse 
to research the importance of a Father in one’s life. 
The ladies of the world may find offense in my thinking, 
and none is intended, but I believe it is harder to 
be a good Father than it is a good Mother, and that 
comes from a person who adores both his Father 
and Mother. For starters, there are far more good 
mothers in the world than exist good Fathers. The 
incarnate act of good mothering appears as natural 
to women as water to a fish and flight to eagles. Additionally, 
there exist no equal of labeling for men 
as there is for ladies. Women have fancy monikers: 
“Motherly Instinct, Maternal Bond,” and they are 
also gifted with “Intuition.” Men are harnessed with 
a kryptonite called testosterone. A new father will 
invariably discover that they are neither populated 
nor strengthened with the necessary impulses that 
must comprise a well-rounded father. Therefore, 
they are forced to exist in the observation of their 
own father’s deeds and the pure act of discovery. If 
by chance a caring soul should one day determine to 
rally to the cause of males and write a manual about 
being a good father. It think it probable that it would 
be penned by a well-meaning women of decorated 
education, but men’s indigenous nature and hate for 
seeking direction would prevent them from reading 

The duplicitous act of being a good father is that 
it makes an old man young and exhausts him with 
the same witchcraft of activity. The saving grace for 
men is that they are easily transformed to children, 
and the advantage of the regression is that it allows 
them to partake of a child’s game, such as baseball, 
and deflects the natural contempt of society for this 
recreation. The men that become the best Fathers are 
those that become the best boys. To be a good father 
it helps to be a skilled storyteller. I can’t tell you how 
many times my Father told me about the snow he 
torturously labored through for the pleasure of an 
education. The route of his travels curiously discovered 
to be uphill in both directions. Of course there 
was the gum repair business that he presided over 
to get him through college. The gum being the component 
he used to repair the holes in the oil pans of 
cars. He had me on that one for a while. For some 
strange reason he thought he could conduct military 
training ops on me, as he declared the “vice grip” 
while simultaneously clamped his hand upon my leg 
and watching it cripple. I have a suspicion that such 
an action is highly chargeable in this politically correct 
age. I can also recall with devastating brilliance 
the day I was conducting air assaults with water balloons. 
When I launched a particularly effective salvo 
out into the street and discovered the serendipity of 
the attack when my balloon struck a few feet in front 
of my dad’s car as he turned into the driveway. I am 
sure I was successful in wounding the leather on his 
belt that day, and for some reason, I have not forgotten 
him taking a knee bedside my bed and reciting a 
prayer with me.

Now as I lay me down to sleep,

 I pray the Lord my soul to take.

If should I die before I wake,

 I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I would like to believe that ever child shares some 
memories of their father such as I have, but the truth 
is, too many don’t. The statistics are extremely troubling 
when you view children that don’t have a father 
in their life:

90% of all homeless and runaway children are 
from fatherless homes.

70% of juveniles in state operated institutions 
come from fatherless homes [U.S. Dept. of Justice, 
Special Report, Sept., 1988] 

85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a 
fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia Jail Populations 
and Texas Dept. of Corrections, 1992]

The list of ravages upon a fatherless child curse the 
thought of all decent souls. Too many children never 
escape the pain of that existence. I have knowingly 
idealized my own father and pronounced him fit in 
many ways, but he is not perfect, and he would offer 
no resistance in confirming that statement. But perfection 
is not a requirement in a good or even great 
Father. The ability to love, the determination to be 
available, and the effort to leave memories for your 
children are the essential ingredients of a good Father. 
The world is measurably better because of your 

Happy Father’s Day, Gentlemen!

Happy Father’s Day

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, first proposed the idea of a father’s day 
in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was raising 
six children on a farm by himself. The first Father’s Day celebration occurred on June 19, 1910, because it was the month 
of Smart’s birth.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June 
as Father’s Day. President Richard M. Nixon signed the public law that made Father’s Day permanent in 1972.

Father’s Day has become a day to honor your father, but also a day to honor all men who act as father figures, including 
uncles, stepfathers, brothers, and grandfathers.

TV’s Top Dads

This Father’s Day, America will celebrate its 64.3 
million dads. While you’re busy appreciating your own 
dear old dad, there are a few other pops you might want 
to keep in mind, too: TV dads. They may not be real, 
but these dads have wielded tremendous paternal influence 
over generations of American families.

Here’s a look at TV’s top dads: From the 1950s cardigan-
wearing, “Father Knows Best” types to the 21st 
century guys juggling dysfunctional families and questionable 
careers. (in chronological order)


Played by Hugh Beaumont, 
Ward Cleaver was the model of 
fatherly patience on the hit sitcom 
Leave It To Beaver (1957-
1963). No matter what calamity 
son Beaver embroiled himself in 
- and there were some doozies, 
Ward was always ready with an 
encouraging word and some life wisdom.


Ben Cartwright, played by 
Lorne Greene, was the thrice-
widowed patriarch in the long-
running Western series, Bonanza 
(1959-1971). A pillar of the community, 
Ben was also a solid family 
man, raising his three dissimilar 
sons on the family’s 1000-acre 
ranch, the Ponderosa. At the core of the show was 
Ben’s commitment to helping his sons to face life with 
strength and integrity.


Andy Taylor (played by Andy 
Griffith) was one of TV’s first 
single dads on The Andy Griffith 
Show (1960-1968). The down-
home sheriff for the town of Mayberry, 
North Carolina, Andy set 
about raising his son Opie with a 
bit of hokey humor and a heaping 
of soliloquy-style discipline - and the help of the ever-
present Aunt Bee.


Archie Bunker (played by Carroll 
O’Connor) was TV’s most 
morally offensive character - long 
before being morally offensive 
was popular. A working class father 
from Queens, Archie sat in 
his striped armchair, dispensing 
his always loud, usually bigoted 
opinions about people and politics. Pivotal to the 
show were Archie’s daily spars with son-in-law Michael 
(AKA “Meathead”), whose liberal views and 
perennial student status were fodder for Archie’s slurs.


TV’s first stepdad, Mike Brady 
(played by Robert Reed) was the 
widower patriarch whose new 
blended family included three 
sons (his) - and three daughters 
(wife Carol’s). The Brady 
Bunch (1969-1974) managed to 
face their weekly dose of overly 
dramatic family dilemmas with 
some firm discipline from Mike (and fresh baked 
cookies from Alice, the housekeeper). One of TV 
land’s strictest dads, Mike was also the most even-
handed - not to mention the hippest (remember the 


Ever-jolly Howard Cunningham (played by Tom 
Bosley) was the Midwestern TV Dad on the 1950s-
style comedy Happy Days (1974-
1984). Howard earned his living 
by running the hardware store, 
but always managed to find time 
to solve the woes of his teenage 
kids. And he even played surrogate 
dad to son Richie’s rather 
wayward collection of friends.


One of TV’s first African 
American fathers, Heathcliff 
Huxtable also broke paternal 
ground in The Cosby Show 
(1984-1993) for his dual-income 
earning family. The high-powered 
couple (Cliff was an OB-
GYN, wife Clair a corporate attorney) 
resonated with American viewers, who were 
eager to see an image of their own family’s working 
status - rather than TV land’s persistence in the passé 
norm of the housewife mom. Together, the joke-
cracking Cliff and straight-laced Clair raised their five 
kids, ranging in age from preschool to high school, in 
their Brooklyn brownstone.


Steven Keaton (played by Michael 
Gross) was the liberal, loving 
dad to three in Family Ties 
(1982-1989). Both Steven and 
wife Elyse were former flower 
children trying to reconcile their 
now suburban lifestyle with a 
soulful quest to “do good” in the 
world. Steven found an outlet for his altruism in his 
career - running the public TV station; but at home, 
this former hippy was constantly foiled by eldest son 
Alex “P.” Keaton, a hard-core Reagan Republican.


Dan Connor (played by John 
Goodman) was the rotund, beer 
swigging, blue-collar husband 
and father on the comedy Roseanne 
(1988-1997). Frequently 
confounded by his three kids, 
Dan also struggled to figure out 
who really “wore the pants” in his 
blue-collar family: himself or his wise-cracking wife 


Speaking of less-than-perfect 
dads, Homer Simpson has cornered 
the market on underachieving. 
As The Simpsons’s 
(1989-present) animated patriarch, 
Homer personifies bumbling 
ineptitude in everything he 
does - from his botched attempts 
at raising his three kids to his rather ironic job as safety 
inspector at the local nuclear plant. The longest run 
show on TV, with characters that have never aged, The 
Simpsons offers America a satirical, politically incorrect 
family and one of the most enduring iconic cultural 


Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) 
was Home Improvement’s 
(1991-1999) goofy handyman 
and blundering father to three 
sons. Fortunately for the Tool 
Man - as Tim was called on his 
successful cable DIY show - he 
was able to count on his ever-
patient wife Jill and his sage-like 
neighbor Wilson for guidance on everything from 
parenthood to politics.


Ray Barone (played by comedian 
Ray Romano) was the 
Italian-American, sportswriter 
dad to three on Everybody Loves 
Raymond (1996-2005). Set in 
Long Island, the show featured 
the complicated (some might say: 
dysfunctional) family dynamics 
between the dopey but well-intentioned Ray; his 
long-suffering wife Debra; his gruff but good-hearted 
father Frank; and his meddling, passive aggressive 
mother Marie. And many were the opportunities for 
conflict between them, since Ray and Debra lived 
right across the street from Frank and Marie.


Now here’s a killer dad! Anthony 
“Tony” Soprano (played 
by James Gandolfini) was no 
Ward Cleaver, but he’s definitely 
the most powerful dad on this 
list. The ruthless Underboss of 
a New Jersey crime family, Tony 
seemed to genuinely love his wife 
(if you can look past his rampant infidelity) and his 
two teenage kids. But between his depression and 
anxiety attacks (and borderline sociopath personality), 
Tony struggled to find his footing in fatherhood 
- or marriage and any other genuine relationship, for 
that matter.




Like millions 
of dads 
across our 
country, President 
has said that 
being a father 
is the “most 
important job 
he has.” From 
coaching basketball 
to helping 
with homework, 
the President cherishes the time 
he gets to spend with his two girls, even 
when life gets busy.

This week at a screening of the movie 
Cars 2 for military fathers and families, 
President Obama is kicked off something 
called the year of Strong Fathers, 
Strong Families as part of his Fatherhood 
and Mentoring Initiative. It’s an 
effort with partners from around the 
nation to create simple opportunities for 
dads and kids to connect. Whether it’s 
a free game of bowling, a Major League 
Baseball or WNBA game, a visit to the 
zoo or aquarium, or discounts for dads 
and kids through partners like Groupon 
and LivingSocial, and is excited to help 
create small moments that can have a 
big impact. You can sign up for updates 
and find more in the coming days on