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Leon Bibb: Conversations with my father

We can celebrate grandfathers, uncles, teachers, older brothers or friends. Maybe even mother had to be a father too. Father's Day is about all of that.

CLEVELAND — When I was a kid, the television show “Father Knows Best” told of a family where the wise father helped his kids through life’s twists and turns.  Fictional television, but some of it could have been my family’s factual life.   

In my home, Mom and Dad ran the household too. My sister and I had to toe the line. Usually, Dad administered the strong discipline. If we were scolded or punished, it came also with parental teaching. 

Mostly I learned by watching Dad. He always emphasized my being a good boy would take me into strong manhood. A Father's Day reflection: Dad was right.

Our album of family photographs greys with age, but the stories behind the pictures remain vivid in my memory. I am flooded with nostalgia; sometimes tears. Both Dad and Mother have passed on. 

Credit: Leon Bibb
Maybe you don’t have as tender a memory of a father as I have. But there could be someone else who helped you find your way. Father’s Day can celebrate grandfathers, uncles, teachers, older brothers, or friends. Maybe even mother had to be a father, too. Father’s Day is about all of that.

Maybe you don't have as tender a memory of a father as I have. But there could be someone else who helped you find your way. Father's Day can celebrate grandfathers, uncles, teachers, older brothers or friends. Maybe even mother had to be a father too. Father's Day is about all of that.

 My dad helped me wrestle through elementary school arthmetic. And how to tie a necktime. Dad showed me the skill of changing a tire. He helped me find my balance on a bicycle. Also, Dad prepared me for adulthood, nothing there would be highs and lows and I would have to learn to balance them, too. And there was our talk about the birds and bees. I was nervous. So was he just ike the "Father Knows Best" television father and son. 

Credit: Leon Bibb
Leon's father taught him how to tie a tie, to change a tire, and helped him with arithmetic. He was also disciplinarian, but always incorporated a teaching moment into punishments handed down to Leon and his sister.

 Also, Dad prepared me for adulthood, noting there would be highs and lows and I would have to learn to balance them, too.  And there was our talk about the birds and bees.  I was nervous.  So was he just like the “Father Knows Best” television father and son.   

 That popular TV show featuring a boy my age washes me with memories of my own conversations with Dad.   In some ways, we were different from the TV family, but there are some universal truths which are the same.  During this Father’s Day period, I recall moments like that.

I will put flowers on Dad's grave as a tribute to the man who taught me about life, including how to be a good father myself. Dad lives in my heart. This story is my greeting to Dad and to all father figures in whatever forms they entered my life. And to those in your life as well. So I send this television greeting card: Happy Father's Day. I love you, Dad.  Love, Leon. 

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