Now that my first-born is going to college, passed his 18th birthday milestone, and I’ve been a dad for nearly two decades, it’s time with this Father’s Day to reflect on some highs and lows of my dad-journey! Without a doubt, being a dad has been the highlight of my life. Granted, walking on the grounds of Wimbledon and seeing The Stones are also high on my list, but those fit more in the fun category of life and are fleeting in nature. Being a dad, as the title of this column implies, is a more enduring and challenging experience!
When I grew up, there were wonderful dads that were the staple of television. These TV dads were an ideal that we all realized was a bit too perfect, but these dads (and moms, for that matter), made us feel good. I liked Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont on “Leave It To Beaver”). I liked Steven Keaton (Michael Gross on “Family Ties”).
Carroll O’Connor broke precedent dramatically with his portrayal of Archie Bunker in “All In the Family,” but under his occasionally crass, racist, and sexist blue-collar worker there was still a loving and caring father! And, later on, everyone loved Cliff Huxtable, played by Bill Cosby on the long-running hit show that bore his name. Bill Cosby’s “Dad” was named the number one TV dad of all-time by TIME magazine!
For me, my Father’s Day is a melancholy experience. I certainly appreciate the attention that I get from my two boys and my wife. My younger son tends to make an artistic gift for me, since he’s the artist of the family, while my older one will scribble some sweet sentiments on a piece of scrap or notebook paper, and my wife will usually make me a glorious meal of my choosing.
While I appreciate all this love showered my way, my Father’s Day also makes me melancholy over the memory of my late father, who was a wonderful man. I’ve written about him before, but I want to always keep his memory present in my mind and the minds of my boys.
Before I delve into the subject of what happened to shame, I want to share some news of which I’m very unashamed and proud. I have a new radio show called “The Bruce Sallan Show–A Dad’s Point-of-View,” which is inspired, if not actually based, on my columns. It is broadcast on KZSB AM1290, The Santa Barbara News Press Radio Station, and can be heard “live” on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m., PST with re-broadcasts each Thursday evening from 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., PST and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m, PST. The show is available to hear on the Internet anywhere in the world via “live streaming,” which is accessible on my web-site (brucesallan.com). Each show is archived, also on my web-site, for listening anytime, without commercials.
Right now, the format of the show is in five segments. The first one features me introducing each show, giving the call-in and e-mail information, taking calls, and presenting each week’s topic. What follows next are three segments, each with different guests, “The Men’s Room,” “Teen Rap,” and “Single Parent Seeking.” The last segment is me, again, wrapping up the show with a summary of what was discussed, more calls and e-mail, and a peek or tease about next week’s show.
This topic is so obvious yet I have yet to write about it. It may be partly because it is so close to home, for my boys. I was blessed to have my father and mother in my life completely and lovingly, until they died in recent years (at 89 and 90). They loved me, supported me, and told me the truth when I needed to hear it, whether I wanted it or not.
As is so often the case, I found their wisdom to be true once I survived my teens and particularly when I became a parent myself. They also modeled a love affair and marriage that was the envy of all their friends, since they knew each other for 73 years and were married for 66. It was a wonderful match. They survived two of their three children, but always stood by each other and I am so grateful for all that they did for me.