By Shirley Prihoda
When John Toth, The Bulletin’s editor, asked me to write an article appropriate for Father’s Day, there was a quick, searing stab, beginning in my heart and flowing unabated throughout my entire being. How does one describe the value of a father if you haven’t ever had one?
Of course, there was one, since there’s only been one immaculate conception. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on who actually showed up for my event.
There’s a father’s name listed on my birth certificate. However, he denied any association the few times I saw him before his death in 1967. As was his life, his death was beset with the consequences of addictive behaviors. He died as a drunk pedestrian crossing Old 288 in the dark.
An absentee father leaves a hole in the heart of a child that is hard to fill by a mother. There are God-ordained roles for each parent, which are intended to complement the strengths of the other.
A fatherless home lacks covering and protection. The children are left wondering who they are and where they are going. The emptiness of the child is great, and they will seek options to fill the void.
That is not in any way to diminish the role of a mother. She has a full set of skills the father can’t begin to understand. He’s often left scratching his head as to how she can read a child in a split second and know what they need. She’s gifted like that. Her gifts take the covering and order of the father and challenges the child, wipes away their tears, gives them a popsicle (known for their curative powers), nurtures them to see beyond the hurt of today and challenges them to get up and try again.
There are many painful moments for a fatherless child, but none more so than a movie about the love of a father. I remember watching “The Lion King” (several times on each visit) with my granddaughter, Kelsey. It didn’t concern her in the least that she had seen it three times the day before. She was at Nonnie’s house, and that’s what we do; we watch “The Lion King.”
My heart ached each time Simba mourned the loss of his father, Mufasa. He had run away to ease his pain and try to reinvent himself with Timon and Pumbaa. Out of nowhere, Rafiki comes onto the scene - singing, of course. He annoys Simba, lands a quick blow to the head for good measure, and suddenly the sky is filled with the image of Simba’s father. Mufasa tells him he has forgotten who he is. Simba returns home to Pride Rock, marries, has a baby girl and lives happily ever after.
Life in the natural world is not always as easy as on the big silver screen, but it can be a whole lot easier with a father in the picture, and the statistics prove it.
To state a few: 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home; seven out of every 10 youth that are housed in state-operated correctional facilities, including detention and residential treatment, come from a fatherless home.
Children who live in a single-parent home are more than two times more likely to commit suicide than children in a two-parent home; and 75% of sexual offenders are motivated by displaced anger that is associated with feelings of abandonment that involves their father.
Maybe, like me, you didn’t have the best start in life, but that doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be like that. If you have breath, you can be healed tomorrow and receive a brand-new start. God loves to fill voids and give second chances.
It’s time for absentee fathers to awaken. Be present to put the kids to bed each night and pray over them each morning as they leave for school. This will give them a comforting sense of worth for today and hope for tomorrow.
My Father’s Day story is not a pleasant one, but it has to be told. Perhaps it will make a difference in the life of a father and a child.
Now, onto making homemasoup is in the pot! Dads, this may be a little more complex than heating up mac’ and cheese, but give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Tomato Basil Soup
3 pounds Fresh Tomatoes, cut into pieces
1 cup Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoon Olive oil
½ Teaspoon Sea salt
¼ Teaspoon Black pepper
¼ cup fresh Basil
2 Tablespoons salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 quart Vegetable broth
½ cup heavy Cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss. Pour onto baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Remove, stir, and roast for an additional 15 minutes, broil during the last 3 minutes to lightly char the tomatoes.
Blend roasted vegetables in a food processor. Add basil and blend until smooth. In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk. Cook until butter and flour mixture is light golden brown. Add broth and sugar and whisk to combine.
Add tomato mixture to flour mixture. Then add the heavy cream. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Serve warm with croutons and chopped fresh basil.
(To contact Shirley, please send emails to email@example.com or write to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)