Today is Father’s Day. It is the day to nationally celebrate and honor all our fathers who are still alive and those who have passed away.
In my case, my father passed away at the age of 62 in 1985. My grandfather (his father) passed away at 65 in 1962. As a teenager I visited with my grandfather maybe three or four times before we moved for the umpteenth time.
Growing up in the fifties I remember Father’s Day at my house as not being overly memorable as a little kid. Later as the teenager in the sixties I remember the family would load up the car with my five younger brothers, mother, father and me and we would trek to a local restaurant for that special Sunday meal celebrating fatherhood.
Since there were so many of us, we usually were forced to wait much longer than smaller families for a table. Most of the time they had to pull two or more tables together so we could all crowd in and fit around the tables for the Father’s Day meal.
Once I graduated high school in upper state New York, I left to attend college in Fort Worth and was not around for those celebrations after that.
Ironically when I worked as a weekend reporter at KENS-5 Eyewitness News in 1982, my very first assignment was to do a Father’s Day story on George Cisneros, the father of then Mayor Henry Cisneros who I have previously written a column on for “Just a Thought.”
It was exciting visiting him at his home and interviewing him about his family’s Father’s Day traditions since I had previously served in the Army Reserves with him in the 70s long before I met the Mayor.
He was my unit commandant at the 90th ARCOM on Harry Wurzbach Road. Every Monday night, (Reserve meeting) I would report in at the ARCOM and either pass him in the hallway or report directly to Colonel Cisneros office for assignments for the evening. I do recall standing in front of him in his office smartly saluting him until he returned my salute.
By the time I interviewed him for the story, he had retired from the Reserves and I would run into him at the local gym where we both worked out. In some ways he reminded me of my own father.
During our workouts we would visit and talk family. Like my father, Colonel Cisneros was a strict disciplinarian, but a fair man and great commander. Around that time he suffered a stroke and got around with some assistance. When we worked out I would spot him when he attempted to lift some light weights.
He eventually passed away some years later and I attended his funeral that attracted hundreds of family, friends and mourners. In conversations with Henry and his family at that time, he shared that his dad was a great father.
I was privileged to have served with that great father, spent time with him militarily and in the gym. Eventually I reunited with my own father for his last two Father’s Days celebrations here in San Antonio, before he too passed away.
Today is the day to spend with your father, be it at his home or yours or perhaps at a local restaurant. Either way, Happy Father’s Day.
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.