Monday, June 19, 2006

Father’s Day

At first, I wasn't sure if the person holding the baby on the other side of St. Anne's Church in Frankfort was a really geeky looking guy or a really ugly woman.
It was a guy, wearing an androgynous Land’s End-type outfit of a loose-fitting purple shirt, hiking shorts and boots. His hair was cut semi-short in the style favored by butches – of both genders.
But when the baby started to fuss, he calmly slipped to the back of the church, carrying that child in the way only experienced, involved parents do. Women get this movement a lot quicker than men do, but if men get involved in raising the children, they, too, begin to move like masters, not apprentices. This man clearly was a master parent, and on the way out, I saw his qualifications: he and the woman I assume was his wife had five children with them.

We were in Frankfort, about 100 miles northwest of Lake Isabella, because this weekend getaway was my Father’s Day present. Frankfort is a neat little town on Lake Michigan, with a fabulous little downtown and a fabulous beach. It once was a railroad town and port. The railroad and the ships left years ago; now it’s kind of an artsy resort town.
Kissy Missy and I spent a night here on our honeymoon, and we decided to go back with Andrew and Robert.
We rented a charming, funky little cottage, and headed into town.
Dinner at a place called the Villa Marine was amusing Рit seemed that every clich̩ character was there. There was the 40-something wealthy blonde with the skinny husband wearing the U of M hat, the swarthy, heavyset man who looked as if he was vacationing from his job running scummy liquor stores, the older guy dealing the 20-something blonde, and she was just going along for the ride.
At least I waited until I was out on the street before bursting out laughing.
The beach we found is a little tough to find, but man, it’s gorgeous. It’s at least a mile long, and there were only about a dozen people on the entire stretch. It’s below towering sand dunes, and the Lake Michigan surf was kicking up ahead of a cold front.
Andrew and Robert plunged into the chilly water, while Kissy Missy decided just to lay on the warm sand and vegetate.

Later, we drove back up to the top of the dunes to watch the sun set over the lake.
Sunday morning, the rains came, and that canceled our plans to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Another time. After church, we drove up to Empire – the little town right in the middle of the national park -- anyway and had a fabulous lunch at the Village Tavern. Fuzzy called me while we were there, wished me a happy Dad’s Day. We were home by 5 o’clock.
It was all totally normal, all totally family.

Any man can plant a baby. Any guy can write the checks and keep his mouth shut. I am so blessed that I learned more than that, maybe even have learned to move like a master dad.

Larger, printable versions of these images and others are on the Kodak Gallery.

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