June 15, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Recognizing fathers who deserve the honor

Shirley Vogler MeisterThe day before Mother’s Day this year, my husband told me that I had never planned a cookout for him for Father’s Day.

“I suppose not,” I said, and didn’t really think about this again until days later.

Then I truly was not able to recall any time I’d been “mistress of the grill.”

However, I did recall the countless camping trips our family made through the years when our three daughters were living at home with us.

I also remember all the times when I—the “chief cook and bottle washer” on camping trips—had help from Donna, Diane, Lisa and, yes, Paul.

We—the females in the family—were in charge of preparing food and fetching water, but we couldn’t have done this without their father’s assistance when things got tough.

Even when the girls were very small, they did their part according to their abilities.

Other campers often commented on what good workers they were. One time, when Lisa was a toddler, someone stopped to admire how she was helping me dry the dishes.

This came naturally. Paul even taught them how to set up and break down a camping trailer, the first being not much more than a pup tent for five on wheels: very cozy!

The second trailer was larger and more cumbersome, but we still cooked outdoors. Although the daughters now good-naturedly groan when recalling certain aspects of our more primitive travels, they learned to appreciate travel themselves.

They inherited that more from their father than from me because I always yearned for a quiet place in the woods near water where I could commune with nature without thinking of moving on the next day.

Paul and I did do this once while renting a cottage in Maine for a week, but we were out and about all but one day. I enjoyed that day mostly sitting quietly by our cove. I sometimes yearn for the years when adventure brought learning experiences, which would not have happened if Paul had not “pushed” us to go camping.

I suppose I don’t have an itinerant spirit, but I should if I truly followed the example of Christ.

Jesus, while going about God the Father’s business, was an itinerant. He and his disciples found lodging wherever they could and, I’m sure, camped more than I have.

After Christ’s death, the disciples continued spreading the Good News, teaching their listeners the new rules for living.

Now itinerant missionary priests—as well as priests serving more than one parish—teach the Good News with the same dedication.

In fact, all priests are fathers, too—not in the same way as husbands—but also guiding and teaching others.

Happy Father’s Day to all who deserve the honor!

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

Local site Links: