Father’s Day

By K. Corris-Seale


Harry leaned back in his office chair at the Institute.  He was going over the conversation he had just had with Lee.  Lee had two tickets to a ballgame on Sunday, at the Caesar Uyesaka Stadium to see the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos play, and he wanted Harry to go with him.  It wasn’t their usual kind of off duty socialization, but for some reason it seemed important to Lee.  Well, why not?  It might even be fun.

The weather was beautiful, Lee had the roof down when he picked Harry up.  He loved riding in Lee’s red Corvette, and enjoyed the light hearted conversation on the way.  It was a good walk from the parking area to the stadium, but when they finally got there, they had great seats, mid-level seats between third base and home. The stadium was packed.  A few minutes after they sat down, Lee excused himself and came back with two cold beers and a bucket of popcorn.   

Surprisingly, Harry found himself getting quite immersed in the game.  The teams were pretty evenly matched. And with everyone around him cheering, he couldn’t help but feel enthused.  At half time Lee got them hot dogs and more beer.  Harry soon found himself singing along with the old-time songs, and even throwing his arms up when the wave came around.  He was really having a great time!

The second half of the game was a real nail biter.  The score was tied for three innings.  They were rooting for the Gauchos and Harry really got into it.  Soon the game went into extra innings.

It was while Lee had gone to the head that the message came up on the score screen.  ‘Happy Father’s Day!’   Harry sat there in in surprise.  He’d laid flowers on his own father’s grave when he had been in Boston with Edith on Mother’s Day, took care of both holidays at once since he had the opportunity to be there, so he never paid attention to the official calendar date for Father’s Day.

So, that’s what this was all about.  Lee couldn’t bring himself to come right out and talk about it, but this proved the feelings, the sentiment was there. He had often sensed Lee had paternal feelings for him, but cautiously wondered if he might simply be misjudging Lee’s reverential respect for him as his CO, mentor, and close friend.  He certainly knew the feelings that he had for Lee, the son he thought he would never have.  He could never come right out and say it any more than Lee could, but he knew in his heart he loved Lee every bit as much as he would if he were his biological son.   He assumed it was simply naval protocol that restrained them both from being open and honest with each other.  He made a promise to himself that someday he would say those words to Lee, ‘I love you, son’, and hopefully it would be long before he was on his deathbed. 

The game ended with the Gauchos winning, amidst the zealous cheers from their fans.  The stadium emptied quickly, and they were soon back at the car. They talked about different aspects of the game on the way home, and Harry wondered to himself why he had never gotten more into baseball.  Now he understood why they called it the national pastime.   He’d actually spent a whole day not thinking about anything marine related, and enjoyed it!

They were getting near home when Harry suggested stopping at their neighborhood Applebee’s. He was feeling a bit hungry, and another beer or two wouldn’t hurt.  They could only get a table at the bar area, but were then able to watch the big screen TVs replaying different plays of the game.  They listened to the other bar patron’s comments on the game and players and stayed till closing.  What a great day!

As Lee was pulling up to his house, he thought about what to say to thank him. Anything he said that made it obvious he realized Lee was doing this for him because it was Father’s Day and that he suspected Lee thought of him like a father, would be awkward for both of them.   What he really wanted to do was give him a big bear hug and thank him for the best and only Father’s Day he had ever had.  A few more beers and he might have been able to do that.  But . . .

“Lee, thank you so much for today.  I can’t tell you what a great time I had!  I truly hope we do this again, it meant a lot to me.  Take care driving son, get home safely.  Good night.”    He had grabbed Lee’s arm and squeezed it as he said this.  He got out of the car and walked to his house, aware that Lee was sitting there making sure he got in safely.  Once inside, he looked out the window and watched Lee pull away, hoping his brief goodbye had still managed to get his true feelings and appreciation across.

The End

I’m sure we all know of relationships where the biological father was never the ‘real’ father, the one who was loved and respected, the one who made the sacrifices and showed the boy how to be a man.   As the old saying goes, ‘Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.’  How true. 

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers out there! 

Please let me know what you think!