There are two approaches to Father’s Day. The first approach is the “I am Father, hear me roar” approach in which Dad wants to spend the day with his little darlings doing fatherly things such as fishing, hiking, watching sports, etc. It is ALL about togetherness. The second approach is the “I am Father, can-I-please -have-one -day -a -year -to -do -what -I -want -to -do -without -feeling -guilty -about -it ?” approach, in which Dad high tails it out of the house as early as possible to spend the day surfing with a buddy.

Suffice it to say that Dave chose the latter this year which was perfectly acceptable to me. The man, who in my humble opinion is one of the coolest Dads around, just finished teaching the last week of fourth grade in a 100 degree heat wave with no air conditioning. He could have asked for just about anything from me – and gotten it. (Probably a fact he wish he knew YESTERDAY).

So the boys and I spent the morning kayaking with my dad, a.k.a. Pop-Pop, his girlfriend Gail, my brother Justin, and his son, Niko. We go to a small, relatively unknown state park in Chester County called Marsh Creek. We have been going for years, usually 5 or 6 times each summer. It’s a total Pop-Pop thing. A tradition.

The key to effective tradition creation is repetitiveness. We do the same thing every time. It works. I pity anyone who innocently suggests any sort of deviation from the following plan:

  • Arrive early to beat the crowd and secure key parking place.
  • Gather together and discuss boat rental strategy (one man, two men, sit-on, sit-in, electric motor boat, etc). Pop-Pop announces he is treating for the boats. We protest. He prevails.
  • Noah and Chase bicker about the boats. I threaten to leave them on shore. Fighting stops.
  • Our floating caravan heads out to the dam where we can anchor and take a mini hike. We climb on the rock pile at the top of the dam. Throw stones. Pick flowers.
  • We return to the kayaks to head back. Noah and Chase bicker about the boats. I threaten to leave them on dam. Fighting stops
  • Return and eat beef barbeque sandwiches, nachos grande and water ice. Pop-Pop springs for lunch. We protest. He prevails.
  • Kids wade in the lake and try to catch minnows with makeshift fishing equipment. Fail.
  • We all go home with wet butts and warm memories.


Having the opportunity to observe your children bonding with your parents is a gift. My kids have four vibrant, engaging, loving grandparents – all which have their own set of unique traditions that the boys equate solely to them. When my boys are grown men, I think this is what they will remember most fondly about their Pop-Pop, my father.

Dave met up with us later for a family barbeque at Justin’s. The waves were small but he had fun. It was everything that Father’s Day was meant to be. For both of us.


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