Published 12:00 am Monday, June 27, 2011

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
Over the years, I can remember a few Father’s Days that really stand out. Some were because of the place or who was there, and once in a while because of the gifts. Sunday was one of these.
Gifts that impress me are usually ‘manly man’ type things. One of my wives used to say that I had to have the best professional-style lawn mower around. She may have been correct on that one. But then again, I was mowing about 10 acres of lawns a week so it was nice to have a really good one. Come to think of it, neither that ex-wife or any of the others bought me one. Sports stuff is always a big hit too. I got a brand new ball glove, officially engraved like a major league player, which is really special. It wasn’t for Father’s Day, but would have worked just fine for that. Outside stuff like a chain saw or a splitting maul would make great gifts for me too. Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor had nothing on me. Tv hit “Home improvement” would only have been better if it had been titled “Farm Improvement.”
Some guys would think they got the best gift if they were given a new grill. One of those big ones that have a capacity of 30 steaks or a hundred hamburgers, and wouldn’t it be better on wheels? Still others might prefer something to do with golf. A new club or some golf balls, or even those little engraved bags that serious golfers put on their clubs so they won’t get anything on them. No one will ever accuse me of being a golfer, or knowing anything about it. My point is just that the same gifts don’t work as well for everyone.
Lately my daughters have started to give me gift cards for healthy food stores and book stores. Both work very well. I can’t wait to read the next book, and any good book always goes better with a snack that has no sugar, low fat, and certainly no chemical additives. Along the way, they also picked up the habit of taking me to lunch right after church and always to a good place. Good places mean where the menu consists of the same restrictions previously mentioned with snacks. The girls probably don’t enjoy the food as much as I do, but it is just once a year. Still better is that they pay. I never thought it would happen, but my wallet doesn’t even have to see the light of day.
Following all this talk about gifts, and what is special to me, I thought it would be great to thank my daughters for the best Father’s Day yet. My oldest daughter Ashley wanted me to go to church with her. My youngest daughter Amber was going to meet us there. This time, it just seemed right to have them meet me at mine. After all, it is Father’s Day, isn’t it?
As usual, I gave in after some strong talk and we met at Ashley’s church. She goes to Vertical Horizons in Concord, pastored by Ron Magnuson. Magnuson used be in the Charlotte news business, but he left that to follow his real calling. He and his wife, Andrea, are great at what they do, and her voice made the trip worthwhile in itself.
Just before the message on Sunday, they played a video clip of photos and statements about dads who are still with us and those who aren’t. Lots of loving thought went into this, and it was the perfect tribute to fathers on their big day. My best Father’s Day gift started when I was pictured on that video with both my daughters. The quote attached said something close to this: “One of the reasons I love my dad is because he was the anchor of our family and he gave us our relationship with Christ!” Hard to get much better than that.
People spoke up all around the congregation and remembered their dads, sometimes funny and always touching. Amber, who is never shy, told about how she secretly liked hauling hay, even with the threat of other cheerleaders finding out. It’s an inside joke, but it meant a lot to me.
Then it was off to one of those healthy restaurants with low fat and no additives, and an afternoon of just sitting, talking, and enjoying each other. It all made for the best Father’s Day gift ever.