It was my Dad's birthday this past weekend. He turned 60, so it was a big birthday, but there was only a little party because he doesn't really like a fuss. There was a BBQ and cake and a gift, from all of us, of a new guitar that he had been coveting. A perfect gift for him. Hands down probably the best thing we've ever actually bought him.
Yep, it'll be hard to top that one...
My Dad is kind of difficult to buy for. He's not a typical 60-year old. He's not interested in golf. Or fishing. Or vintage cars. Or... whatever else it is that typical 60-year old men are interested in. He has plenty of other interests, of course. Guitars, for example. He loves books, also, but it's tricky to buy books for him because he has a huge collection and very definite tastes. So it's easy to make the mistake of a) buying him one he already has or b) buying him one that he would have no interest in. So it's safer to stick with book tokens, which are... safe... but not very exciting to unwrap.
He likes red wine too. And dark chocolate. And walnuts. And biscuits. And... going on holidays to Sicily. In fact he likes all things Italian/Sicilian - the food, the weather, the culture, etc.
All good stuff, which he got most of for his birthday, including some vouchers for plane tickets to Sicily but perhaps not any walnuts.
And it's tough competition, because now I have to come up a Father's Day gift...
When we were growing up we'd have barely recovered from the arduous task of deciding on a birthday gift for my Dad when we'd be hit with Father's Day decisions to make. We'd usually have exhausted all of the options available to us AND our pocket money getting him things like dark chocolate and red wine (which my Mother must have procured for us) and Walnut Whips (which I realise now he only ever ate the nut off) and who knows what else for his birthday. When Father's Day rolled around, all too soon, we were usually left stumped.
Then, one year, to our delight, he got interested in collecting pigs. It started with a couple of toy plastic ones that he somehow took a shine to and put up on a book shelf. It may not actually have been a conscious decision on his part. Maybe he didn't take a shine to them at all. Maybe he just picked the toy pigs up off the floor after standing on them and put them up out of reach so that it wouldn't happen again but we interpreted it as the start of a 'collection' and pig-mania began. It was a revelation to us kids. A whole new world of 'shopping for Dad' opportunities opened their doors and we relished it. From then on, every Father's Day, Birthday and Christmas Day my Dad got pigs. He also got pigs brought home from any holidays or excursions we went on.
Plastic pigs. Ceramic pigs. Wooden pigs. Money-box pigs. Ivory pigs from antique shops. Brass pigs. Fabric pigs. Soft toy pigs. We once even threatened to get him a real pig. One of those teeny tiny ones. It got a bit ridiculous.
My Dad didn't stop us. His only request was that the pigs look like... well... pigs. That meant: no pigs dressed up as other things. No silly bakers hats, or fairy wings or pigs wielding shovels. Just ordinary, naked pigs. These guys would never have made the cut.
Eventually, when the house had pigs on every available surface and had begun to resemble a creepy porcine shrine, he called a halt to the pig madness. He'd had enough. His 'collection' was complete as far as he was concerned.
He packed some of it away, but there are still lots of little piggies hanging around my parent's house. Looking at us with their beady eyes. Daring us to add to their curated masses.
This Father's Day, I'm sorely tempted to get him one for old times' sake... but he probably wouldn't thank me for it. It's probably 'safer' to stick to the red wine, dark chocolate and book token option!