The Sunday Visit !

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday, June 16th. In North America, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. It is a day for us to show our appreciation and say Thank You to our dads. I just found out that the date for Father’s Day in countries such as Australia and New Zealand is celebrated in September. Again this blog is not a history lesson but I am always intrigued about other countries and their traditions.

Speaking of traditions, our own family celebrates Father’s Day with a day spent with dad. The boys spend time visiting. Of course, we always have a special dinner.  If the weather cooperates this Sunday, we’ll have a barbecue and enjoy our backyard. Maybe a game of bocce?

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Both My Man and I no longer have our own dads but on Father’s Day, we reflect and recall special times spent together. Each of our dads were unique and not only helped us as we grew up, but were also influential in our own sons’ lives.

As I mentioned in my Mother’s Day post, I believe building memories and spending time together with those you love is far more important than purchasing gifts. Of course a card in the mail or a small gift is okay, but please let’s not commercialize our relationships!

Some of you may be wondering why I call my husband My Man.

Well, it is a Ukrainian thing with me that links back to a very special aunt and uncle and a tradition called “the Sunday visit” !

If you are not from a rural Ukrainian village, you may not understand the significance of  “the Sunday visit”.

Let me take you back in my recollections.

Ever since I can remember my mom, dad, siblings and I would go to church on Sunday morning, come home, change out of our Sunday best, have lunch (maybe a bowl of borscht and fresh homemade buns?) and then we’d go visiting.

No, wait…dad would often have an afternoon nap first. Hey, that’s just the way it was. He worked very hard all week long and needed a day to catch up. Nothing wrong with that. Except of course, the rest of us sat around and anxiously waited for our drive into the country.

Now we already lived in a small town, but driving out into the country meant that we were literally driving into the “bush”, with lots of trees, farmland, and maybe a small farmhouse every couple of miles. We travelled down dusty dirt roads and if I am not mistaken, the days were often sunny, dry and hot in the Summer or dark, dreary and cold in the Winter months. Heaven help us if we were to ever break down in our orange  ’57 Ford Fairlane.

The Sunday visit that we all enjoyed the most was to Uncle Jack and Auntie Sophie’s house. I think everyone has a pair of relatives that we love dearly and have influenced our lives. These two were like the pillars of the whole community. Everyone spoke highly of them but I considered myself extra lucky to be related to them!

Uncle Jack farmed, planting and working the fields as well as keeping cattle and turkeys. Oh how those turkeys loved our bright orange car!  In fact, they would fly up onto the roof and surround us when we drove up. I was always afraid to get out of the car.

Aunt Sophie was one of the best aunts anyone could ask for. She was always so happy to see us and made us feel special and so welcomed into her home. I can still picture her standing by her wood stove stirring the boiling pyrohy or whipping up the fresh cream for her pies and cakes. Auntie Sophie’s Angel food cakes are still talked about! Mile high, light and fluffy! Add the whipped cream and no wonder we liked to come to her house for Sunday dinners!

Uncle Jack and Aunt Sophie taught me a lot about the importance of family. Pictures covered their farmhouse walls. Aunt Sophie could name every person in them. She knew when they were born, who they married, what their children’s names were, and sadly even when some of them had died. She took it upon herself to teach us that people were important. Her family and friends were special to her, but no one was more important to her than “her Man”.

Uncle Jack was her “Man”.

Her “Man” could do no wrong. When he was out in the field, she’d stop whatever she was doing and make sure that her “Man” got his dinner. Her “Man” worked late into the evening seeding in the Spring or threshing in the Fall, but Aunt Sophie made sure that the cows were milked and the turkeys fed, because her “Man” had put in a long day.  She kept his supper hot and ready.

When I got married, my aunt told me to treat my man nice!  “It’s important to take good care of a good man!”

I’ve started referring to my husband as My Man a few years ago.  It just seemed right. I see so much of Uncle Jack in my husband; hard-working, ambitious, sometimes opinionated but also so kind, generous and very loving. Maybe he’s not yet a pillar of our community but he is in my eyes. Funny how people like Uncle Jack and Aunt Sophie from our past lives can so influence our present lives.

Just for fun…take a look at my page called How To Preserve A Husband.

Whether you are a father, a father-in-law, grandpa, foster dad or just a great husband, Happy Father’s Day !    Щасливий День батька (Shchaslyvyy̆ Denʹ batʹka)