Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 16, 2013

Garret Leiva: Best gift on dad's day is fatherhood

Local columnist

---- — Today, millions of men will receive a tie, gadget or gizmo destined for the back of a closet. Most guys think it’s the greatest gift in the world — fatherhood.

To every dad, daddy, pops and pa out there, I raise my "No. 1 Dad" coffee mug in solidarity.

Since 1927, the third Sunday in June is a day set aside to honor dads. It is a holiday whereby men are forbidden to mow the lawn. We are encouraged to play golf and given TV remote carte blanche.

For one day, father knows best — or everyone agrees to pretend.

Father’s Day gifts often fall into the tried-and-true triumvirate: ties, tools and sporting goods. Electronics are another perennial pick. Some gift givers go for aftershave or other hygiene products that say “I love you Dad, you stink.”

Just remember, no dad really wants to open a box of ‘some assembly required.’ The only Screwdriver dad can pick up today is one served in a highball glass.

As a fervent tool guy, I subscribe to the one-socket-set-is-never-enough mantra. However, the greatest Father’s Day gift doesn’t come in standard or metric. Fatherhood is a keeper present; even without a lifetime warranty.

Comedian Bill Cosby noted that “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.” My dad had to feign delight for Aqua Velva. I’ve had to get a bit giddy about Gillette razors.

It is really the thought from a certain 11-year-old girl that counts. I would rather get a handmade paper weight from the heart than a generic gift certificate.

Actually, in our digital age, the best keepsake is a few written words.

A child’s words are treasured on Father’s Day; indelible thoughts written in equally permanent ink. Crayon scribbles have turned into noun-and-verb sentences. Each card is tucked away into a dresser drawer; her earnest words into my heart.

As a kid, I’d say “Happy Father’s Day” in a big way. While other greeting card shoppers ruminated over style and substance, I went for substantial. My oversized cards were milled from a sequoia tree.

I also gave my dad a few tacky Father’s Day ties. However, the purple paisley necktie pales in comparison to his greatest gift downfall – golf. The man has been bombarded with golf balls, golf tees, golf shirts, golf socks and golf books.

While I didn’t inherit my father’s passion for golf, we do have several things in common.

His first name is my middle initial. We share hairlines and a wry sense of humor. We also believe that yelling at the TV will alter the outcome of football games.

Chances are I won’t get a tie or golf club for Father’s Day. However, the latest gadget might end up in the closet next to the “No. 1 Dad” coffee mug.

In the end it doesn’t matter. The greatest gift bestowed on a man is fatherhood.

Although I could use more socks.

Reach Garret Leiva care of the Record-Eagle or via email at