The Fathers Day Incident

Don caught a Hodges!

Cap’n Chris driving my boat!

(If you share this link on Facebook, please DO NOT tag folks involved in this story)
What do I mean by this? Myself, my wife, and damn near all my friends and family laugh at things that we probably should not laugh at. I can’t speak for my other friends, but I laugh at inappropriate stuff to help me deal with whatever I’m going through.
For example, when Nancy and I first got into watching hockey, and going to Caps games, I said “I want to ride the Zamboni!”
It turns out that riding the Zamboni is reserved for folks in the Make-A-Wish foundation. One of our friends at the time said “Well, Dan, looks like you’ll have to get cancer before you can ride one.”
I remembered that comment years later, and during my cancer scare, one of my first comments was “SWEET! I’m FINALLY going to ride the Zamboni at a Caps game!!!”
Humor is how I deal with things.  I’m not a horrible person, but I laugh at horrible things. Anyone that knows me and most of my friends, in person, knows this.  I just needed to explain that before I continue the story.
With that said, I posted on Facebook a few days back:

After talking with Don and Chris this afternoon, I decided on the subject of my next blog post.
So far, there is a lot of “Wait, I need to explain this part”….and…”Folks need to understand our sense of humor”…then..
“Should I even post this???”
Yep. I should. Back to the draft post!
I fucking love my friends

Chris was the first to respond:

I wholeheartedly endorse the story Dan is going to post next. As a family of friends we deeply respect each other and yet, at the same time, some of these stories can seem to indicate complete irreverence. Our sense of humor comes out of 17 years or more of friendship, history and making fun of each other. Like sharks with blood in the water. That being said, you better get it right Dan.

I’ll do my best, Chris!
A bit of background of the folks involved in this story…

Both Don and I lost our fathers when we were only 24 years old.  Don’s father died from a gunshot wound to the head in 1992. My father died of a massive heart attack in 1998.
At the time, Chris’s father and step-father were still alive and well.
All three of us knew of each father’s status.
OK! Finally!  The story of the Father’s Day Incident!
Don was living with Nancy and I at the time, and Chris was living next door. One afternoon in 2001, Don, Chris and I were watching a round of a PGA tournament on TV in my living room. I can’t remember what date it was, but it had to be sometime before Father’s Day due to the plethora of Father’s Day commercials on TV.
Seriously, there were 2-3 commercials each commercial break about what to get Dad on Father’s Day. Over and over and over. I get it, being a golf tournament. At some point there was a lull in our conversation and someone broke the silence.

“So, Dan, what are you going to get your dad for Father’s Day this year?” said Chris.
Both Don and I immediately did the following:

(Ok, full disclosure: I will use that gif at any opportunity, but in all honesty, that was the perfect reaction.)
Don looked over at me, and asked “Yeah, Dan, what are you going to get your pops for Father’s Day? I’m looking for some advice on what I should get my dad.” Don had a HUGE shit eating grin on his face and I realized where he was taking this: he smelled blood, and was on the attack. I went for it.
“Not sure, Don, but I have an idea for your dad! You should totally get him a new Detroit Red Wings hat,” I said. Don just smiled, and we both looked over at Chris.
It was at this point that Chris realized his mistake.
His mouth was open as if to say something…anything…to help him out, but he just shut it and looked at the TV. He tried to make a comment about Tiger Woods, or whomever was teeing off at that point, but Don and I were circling the blood in the water and and we weren’t about to let him off the hook. He leaned back into the love seat hoping no one would notice him.
“Well, Dan, I think you should get your dad a carton of Marlboro Reds and maybe a few ribeye steaks for Father’s Day…it’d be good for him,” Don said.
“Good idea!” I said.
We both looked at Chris, and we could see him trying to bury himself in between the cushions of the love seat. He kept sinking lower and lower and Don and I had huge smiles when watching him squirm.
“Guys, I really didn’t –” said Chris.
“Oh, we’re going to milk the hell out of this, Chris,” I said.  I then looked at Don and we both high fived each other….essentially sealing Chris’s doom to have to be reminded of this little faux pas whenever Don and I so chose.
Chris leaned up and said “Dan, I’m really, really sorry.  You know I didn’t mean anything by it, I just…I’m sorry.” I know that he just had a brain fart. I know he wasn’t trying to be a dick, but like I said earlier, we jump at any chance to rag on our friends. We all three hugged and Chris felt really bad, and for most folks, that would be the end of it. They would tell the story later and laugh about it.
Not us.
We were riding this as far as we could go.
Mom vs Chris
Chris and my mom met a few years prior, at my wedding in 1999. They got along great, with him calling her Mom, and even chatting with her on the phone.  Whenever Mom would call and we were all on the deck he’d grab the phone to say hello. Chris is pretty much the guy that will be friends with your mom (and not in that creepy way).
So after the Father’s Day incident, I told Mom about the whole thing, laughing while telling her the story. This was her first real exposure to how twisted our sense of humor really is. After a few minutes of explanation, she really did come around and it made my heart swell when she said “Well, shit. Your father would have laughed his ASS off if he’d seen what you and Don did to Chris!”.  We kept talking about it and she just kept laughing harder.
About a month later, Mom came up here to stay with us for a while. Of course all of our friends knew about the Father’s Day incident, and they couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen. Nancy, Mom, and I were sitting on our deck around 6pm when Chris came home, knowing that Mom had flown in that day. He immediately came over to say hi. Back then, if the kitchen light was on in either house, we’d just knock and walk in. I called out “We’re on the deck!” and Chris walked through the kitchen and dining room onto the deck to give Mom a hug.
“Oh! So you wanted to know what my son was going to get his father for Father’s Day?” Mom asked.
Chris, standing there with his work backpack still on his back, and his arms open for a hug, just looked stunned. He looked to me and Nancy, and we were stifling our laughs. Mom was merciful and just busted up laughing and wrapped her arms around him in a huge hug.
“It’s ok, hon, your friends are assholes” she said with a huge smile.
Forgiven, but NEVER forgotten…

The Father’s Day incident happened well over a decade ago. You’d think it would have run its course.
You’d be wrong.
Now that Nancy and I own a boat, it has become a tradition that I go fishing on Father’s Day with Nancy, Don, Chris, or some mix of that group. On Father’s Day of 2013, it was just Nancy and me. Chris was running the sound board at his church and Don was  most likely riding his Harley with his wife, but I could not pass up the chance to have fun with this again. Here’s the actual text conversation that went down that day (Yes, I kept the conversation on my phone….from two years ago…doesn’t everyone?)
To clarify, my texts are on the right in green, and Chris and Don’s are labeled.
This post is probably one of my funniest memories of all time. At the same time, it was one of the hardest stories to put down in words, given the nature of the story. I started writing it on December 6th, 2014. I’ve been in contact with both Don and Chris every step of the way. I cannot thank them enough for allowing me to share this story with the general public.
Thank you, Don. Thank you, Chris.

Don on the left and Chris on the right, in Deep Creek, MD

As I stated from the beginning, I laugh at horrible things, but that does not make me a horrible person. I laugh to get by. That’s my coping mechanism. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face via these stories, I consider it a good day.
With all this said, I’d like to dedicate this post to all of our fathers.
To Don Gilmore….
Me and Dad, 1992
To Cliff Sweers….
Cliff and Don Sweers
To Dean Hodges…
Wedding_Dean_HodgesTo Bill Wettig…
Without those men above, this memory would never have had a chance to be put into words.
If anyone reading this thinks this is offensive, I’m sorry. Not sorry for what I wrote, but because your sense of humor is lacking 🙂
…and, yes, Chris, you’ll be getting a text on Jun 21st, 2015 😉


5 responses to “The Fathers Day Incident”

    • Great job Dan! Takes me back to that day, and the memory of Chris squirming will forever make me smile and chuckle!

  1. Awesome job! Thanks for the laughs and tear in my eye at the same time. This story has always been so funny and continues to be.

  2. Dan, you always make me either laugh or cry. Today it was some of both. My hat is off to all of those wonderful Dads, and for the great sons they all gifted us with!

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