Father’s Day stories… and Family Feud s*cks.

Quick Father’s Day themed story. A few weeks ago, we were watching Family Feud. The question was, “Name a place where dad goes but doesn’t tell mom. Top-5 answers on the board.” My oldest daughter (9) was absolutely certain that she knew the answer and blurted “I know!!!” Four answers were given and only the top answer remained. Eden vibrated with excitement and certainty. The family huddled on screen and stated with similar certainty, “Strip Club, Steve!!” Ding. #1 answer. My daughter, clearly disappointed and bewildered, turned to my wife and said, “I was going to say donut shop” followed closely by “what’s a strip club?”

Donut shop. I can thank my own father for this. As a kid, I recall being at the grocery store with my father, and an item obviously scanned incorrectly (and lower than marked price). My dad went out of his way to demonstrate to the clerk that he was being undercharged. The grander point, however, was to show me (around my daughter’s age today) that you do the right thing even when you can get away with it… even when nobody else notices. You do the right thing. Mom had very little to worry about. No ladies on the side. No late nights out. No abuse of drugs or alcohol. No external shenanigans with one exception. There was no man in Memphis, Tennessee that was less reliable with a sleeve of Oreos, Hershey’s Kisses, a box of Vanilla Wafers, Ritz or anything sweet or savory. Sweets simply disappeared at our house during the evening hours with no sign of dad. None. He lurked in the shadows and indiscriminately ate. In the morning, you’d catch dad sitting at the table next to a healthy grapefruit with an unusual amount of sugar sprinkled on top. That was a clue. If you asked my dad if he knew what may have happened with the Oreos, he’d elude the question, avoid the question or even worse. The second clue, of course, was that dad was pushing 185. We’re not tall people. And, back to the donut shop…

I share my dad’s late-night sweet tooth. I’ve found myself starting a drive to Starbucks and ending it at a Dunkin Donuts. But, when I come home, there isn’t any cover. I own it. Watching my dad pay every dime at the grocery store paid off. Good job, pop. Happy Father’s Day. You are a funny man. You care deeply for mom after more than 60 years together (56 married). You’ve demonstrated traits that I share with you that have been very much worthwhile in business and in my personal life. I love you, and I hope that your health and mom’s health continues to flourish. After a long career where you worked so hard and put so much into providing, your job today is to stay healthy. There aren’t many pre-packaged sweets in your cupboards nowadays, but on Father’s Day my gift to you is as follows… Go buy yourself some Oreos, put them in the cupboard and see if you can finish them off without mom catching you. If she does, you pay her $100.

In addition, I thank my own family for the Father’s Day donuts. The best donut is a fully approved donut.

Love to all of you but especially my dad on this day,