Every year as long as I can remember, my father’s family gathers for my grandfather’s birthday. I didn’t grow up with my father—he died when I was very young—so I didn’t celebrate Father’s Day. I didn’t even become aware of such a holiday until I was much older.
I did celebrate my grandfather, though.
My grandfather was born June 19, 1892. He was a hard-working farmer born in a town so small that it’s nothing but a ghost town now. I don’t remember ever seeing him wear anything but overalls, though photos tell me I should remember more.
My grandfather is long gone, but my family still gathers for his birthday. Tomorrow will be 118 years since my grandfather was born. My aunts, uncles, several dozen first cousins, and all of their progeny will share photos, food, and the work of our own hands. We bring handmade and other goods to donate for an annual auction to keep funding the gathering year after year.
It’s Father’s Day, but, still, every year the hundreds of us gathered remember to wish Grandpa a happy birthday.