Sunday, 6 September 2015

Father's Day?

I don't know where the "Father's Day" tradition came from but it is "celebrated" Downunder on the first Sunday in September. By "celebrated" I mean that commercial enterprise takes over and informs you that you should/must/will buy your father a (preferably expensive) present in order to tell him that you love him.
Needless to say it does not get celebrated in that way in this household. We just don't go in for that sort of thing. We don't need to. The Senior Cat gets told he is loved often and in all sorts of ways - like Brother Cat phoning him long distance for around an hour of chat each week and Middle Cat taking him to a medical appointment. 
I bought him a present yesterday.
"Going to give it to your father tomorrow?" the girl in the toy shop asked me. She looked doubtfully at me as if doubting my sanity.
"No, I'll give it to him when I get home," I told her. 
"IT" was a miniature pack of cards...about the size of a matchbox. 
"He does magic tricks," I told her, "I am sure he can find a way to use these."
I could see she was still doubtful but I prowled home and gave him the cards. He was, as I thought, pleased to get them and I could almost hear his mind ticking over as he plotted and planned to use them. 
"You don't celebrate Father's Day then Cat?" someone asked me later, "What about Mother's Day?"
We never celebrated that either. My parents acknowledged their mothers. My maternal grandmother expected gifts but my paternal grandmother was more than happy just to see us. They were very different people.
My mother told us she did not want the day acknowledged. As children we wanted to do it anyway. We wanted to do what was traditional back then - give our mother breakfast in bed. She was not one for lying in bed however so we never got as far as the "in bed" bit. We tried to prepare breakfast. The Senior Cat would offer to help (we accepted) but she preferred to have her kitchen to herself. Eventually we gave up.
And then one year we children knew there was a book she wanted to read. Our mother was not much of a reader really so even the mention of a book she wanted to read was unusual. We saved our pocket money, pooled it and the Senior Cat bought the book for us. We wrapped it and on the morning of Mother's Day we gave it to her. She looked at it and then looked at us.
"I suppose you meant well but you know we don't celebrate Mother's Day."
I don't know what our father said - if he said anything at all - but four very subdued children went off without a word. I can only suppose our mother meant well.  
It had been my idea to get the book and I felt so guilty about the pocket money the others had invested I eventually paid my sisters back. My brother, being older than them, took equal responsibility for the act. We never again tried to acknowledge Mother's Day. 
But Father's Day? We're taking the Senior Cat out for a cheap and cheerful lunch in the local shopping centre. 
"It will," Middle Cat informed me when making the arrangements, "save you from  having to get lunch."
The Senior Cat tells me he is "quite looking forward to it".

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