Robert was in his 30s, at least, that is what he told folks.  People that knew Robert from his birth knew that he was older than that.  They just smiled or chuckled when he told people who did not know him his fictitious age.

A week or so before Father’s Day, Robert was visiting his parents when his father asked him why he lied about his age.  Robert, somewhat taken aback, said, “I don’t know.  I guess I just don’t want to get old.” 

Robert’s father smiled, then said, “Son, you have quite a way to go before you are old.  Be proud that you have lived as long as you have and that you, too, are a father.  Set a good example for your kids about aging.  You are loved regardless of your age.” 

Robert’s mother shook her head up and down in agreement.  Robert said nothing. He gave his mother a hug as he left.

On Father’s Day, Robert and his children went to Robert’s parents’ house with gifts for Robert’s father.  Before his father opened his gifts, he gave Robert a large envelope.  When Robert opened it, he found an enlarged photo of his father holding him as a newborn baby.  Written on the bottom of the photo in gold letters was Robert’s name, his birthdate and the words in capital letters: “A proud day.”

Robert laughed, bent down and kissed his seated father on his forehead. 

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad.” Robert said, “Thanks for being you.  I love you.”  “Happy Father’s Day to you, too, Son, and many, many more.  I love, love, love you,” said Robert’s Dad.

Everyone laughed.

Robert gave his dad a hug, then they continued to open gifts.


Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...