DEAR ABBY: Today is Father's Day, so why don't we try to do more for dear old Dad than give him the usual greeting card that promotes the idea that all dads are imbeciles, followed by a collect call to see what he thought of the card. (Father's Day is the day when the most collect calls are made.)
We should treat our fathers the way we treat our mothers on Mother's Day and show them we appreciate them for being there. Yes, you probably tell your father all the time that you love him, but the minds of men work differently. Anyone can say "I love you," but as men, knowing that we are appreciated for a job well done is what really gets us teary-eyed.
Something else you can do -- especially you sons out there (but daughters can do it, too) -- is to make sure Dad has been to the doctor for a checkup, including depression screening. This can go a long way toward making sure he's here on Father's Day next year.
I wasn't raised by my father, but by a stepfather. Although we did not see eye-to-eye on many things, I would not be the person I am today if it were not for him. This man, who spent years climbing on top of heavy construction equipment to prepare the ground for many of the homes, businesses, roads and highways of Southern California, now finds it difficult to get into a car. Although none of the houses or roads have his name on them, they are all testaments to his life and the lives of men like him.
So today, let's do something extra for Dad, without him pulling out his wallet to pay for it. -- GEORGE M., OVERLAND PARK, KAN.
DEAR GEORGE: Your fact about Father's Day being the day when the most collect calls are made was an eye-opener. Your stepfather is a lucky man to have a son who is so concerned with, and involved in, his well-being.
I'd like to wish a happy Father's Day to all of the loving, caring, hard-working fathers, stepfathers and surrogate fathers out there who contribute daily to the lives of those who depend upon them.
And now, a "different" kind of thank-you for Father's Day:
DEAR ABBY: It's time to thank the men who donate their sperm for artificial insemination.
Because of you, I have been able to experience the never-ending joys of motherhood. I count my blessings every time I hug and hold my children, hear their voices, see them smile. Each year, as I celebrate their birthdays, I know that you were the one who made it possible. Thank you for making my life complete.
Even though you remain a nameless and faceless biological father, I want you to know that you helped to create two beautiful children who today are caring and loving adults. You should be proud of them. And I think it is important for you to know that they are very proud to be a part of you.
Happy Father's Day from them, and from me. -- THANKFUL MOM IN MICHIGAN
DEAR THANKFUL: I'm sure your letter will be appreciated not only by the donor who shared his own genetic material to help you become a mother, but by many others as well. It proves the truth of the saying, "The most meaningful gift is the gift of self."