Monthly Archives: July 2013

Make Room for Daddy

“All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why.”

—Danny Thomas

Today’s story is about Marlo Thomas and her dad Danny Thomas.

Daddy’s little girl had exciting news. An A+ essay at school. But Daddy was on the road. So she read it to him over the phone. That conversation changed his life. And hers. And possibly yours.

Marlo Thomas

Marlo Thomas (right) and her sister Terre in 1969

Margaret (“Marlo”) Thomas has now grown up. She’s an actor like Dad.

Her dad — Danny Thomas — became a household name in his day. But it wasn’t always that way. He started his career touring small clubs as a comedian. He traveled extensively and was often away.

Marlo remembers:

“Because [Dad was touring] it was like having a long distance daddy a lot of the time. And he would always call us long distance, every single night… READ MORE 

Dad’s Shrimp Tempura

“Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one’s own person is its ultimate reward.”

—Patricia Sampson

Today’s post is from Karen Austin.

The month before he turned 13, my dad became the man of the house. In February of 1951, his father died during gallbladder surgery.

Dad's shrimp tempura

Dad’s shrimp tempura

As the oldest of three boys, he assumed a lot of responsibility. He worked after school at the family jewelry store. He often made dinner while his mother worked late doing bookkeeping for the store. He joined the military to pay for college.

Because of the way he grew up, Dad learned to be self-reliant. To do things for himself. To be responsible for his own well being, happiness and success in life.

This example by Dad formed the foundation for how I now live. It’s the best lesson I learned from him. READ MORE 

Fifty-Dollar Dad

“Live as if tomorrow is your last and you will never regret the yesterdays passed.”

—Brian “Trigs” Hague

Today’s story is about Phil, the fifty-dollar dad.

Jack is an enterprising young lad. The youngest of four boys. Definitely driven.

fifty-dollar dad

He’s been working extra chores for two weeks. Saving up. Just a few bucks more. Rationing his snack money. Selling old baseball cards. Whatever he can.

50 dollars. A dream to most 8 year olds, but not to this little man. Jack saves while his brothers spend. He works while they watch TV. $4. $9. $17. $29. $44. $49. And then, he is there. Fifty bucks in his hand. Jack has a plan. READ MORE 

Small Potatoes

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear you speak.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s story is from Art Ernst.

During the Great Depression of the middle 1930s, my dad and his brother, Roy, decided to trade a bushel of my Uncle Roy’s potatoes for a bushel of Dad’s apples when they ripened.

Bushel of potatoes

Small potatoes

After visiting Uncle Roy and Aunt Edith one Sunday, as we started to leave for home, Uncle Roy said “Oh, by the way, I have your bushel of potatoes ready.”

Our car had no trunk so Uncle Roy placed them next to me on the back seat. I observed how clean and large were those potatoes. But, upon removing them from that bushel basket, we found smaller ones in the middle. When we got to the bottom, there was several inches of dirty, dinky little misshapen potatoes. READ MORE 

Daisies & Dads

“Some people don’t believe in heroes. They haven’t met my dad.”


My dad? Quite simply the best. He can do anything. Build anything. Be anything.

daisies and pearls

Doggy/Daddy dates

My friends all had the same generic Barbie dollhouse. My dad built a custom, three-story doll mansion for me.

My friends had pretty lunchboxes. Dad painstakingly hand-painted custom lunch bags with pretty murals and colorful characters for me.

All the furniture in our house… bought in a store? Nope. Handmade, by Dad, perfectly styled for the 70’s decor. READ MORE 

Alvy & Me? We Only Lack Biology

“One of the biggest needs in our generation is for men to step into the lives of boys to train them, equip them, and cheer them on to grow up as they begin the process of ‘manning up’.”

—Dennis Rainey

Today’s story is from Melanie Jongsma.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines father as “a man who gives care or protection to someone.”

Groovy young family

Groovy young Jongsma family, 1970
(Melanie far right next to her dad Allen)

Care. Protection. Indeed. Real fathers are not a product of biological luck. True dads help and protect, no matter the bed they’ve slept.

It’s why men who step in can be great dads with no biology at all. Step dads. Granddads. Coaches. Teachers. Mentors. Each with a chance to change lives for the best.

Melanie Jongsma, our guest today, is a professional writer, editor, and wordsmith extraordinaire. In Melanie’s words, a snapshot of her dad, a father in every sense of the word. READ MORE 

Guns N’ Roses N’ Dad

“I mean we all need a second chance sometimes.”

—Joel Osteen

Story contributed by Andrew Loos.

Every kid should have the good fortune of throwing an awesome high school party his friends will talk about for years. In Kansas, where I grew up among a group of fervent teenage metalheads, it was a God-given right.

highschool years

Andrew and his dad Doug circa 1992

So naturally when Guns N’ Roses and Metallica announced they would be making a stop in my hometown on their world tour, I seized the opportunity to plan such a shindig before we all departed for the concert. Like so many tragically missed opportunities in our young lives, this concert-of-a-lifetime happened to be taking place on a school day. But we weren’t going to let that stop us.

Mom was out of town with my brother at tennis camp and Dad, out of town on business. In hindsight, it almost seemed too perfect. So at 9:30 a.m. that day, we gathered at my empty house to get the festivities started. READ MORE