My dad was never much of a fashion guru. In fact, he was probably as close to a fashion dud i think i've ever met. A doctor, one of the youngest-ever full professors in this country's medical history, a leading expert in infectious diseases (yes, AIDS was his forte) -- and yet, he wore his office shirts till they started unravelling, pants till the colour drained, and socks and shoes till they had holes in them. And even when he was finally forced to buy something new, he would wait until the sales came, and even then he would buy the absolute cheapest things he could find.
It was not that he didn't have the money; no, he had lots of that. And, no, its not because he was stingy (though for many years i thought that was the reason).
Its simply because he was saving all his money for his family, not himself.
The family never had to want for food, or proper shelter. We, the children, nearly always got the things we needed -- good books, tuition, music classes, the spanking new Kangaroo BMX, the toys, the computers. Every once in a while, dad would take us away for a wonderful holiday, which was more for us, i suspect, than it was for him; dad believed that travel "opened our minds", and that's something he wanted for all his children. Mom always had some extra money to buy that something nice for herself every month -- a new brooch, a ring, or a pretty dress or a new pair of shoes. Or something new for the house -- a new sofa, a more comfortable bed, or a new stove, or microwave oven. And, yet, so little for himself.
Dad was a provider, and he did it to the best he could even when it meant he had to forgo those shoes he always wanted, or that wonderful shirt, or that beautiful tie. His sacrifice made very little sense to me when i was a child; i would laugh at him when his big toe stuck out of the hole in his sock, or tease him whenever he kept on wearing the same old shirt to work. Now, an adult i am, i think i know better.
Thanks, dad for this life you've given me. I want you to know i love you very much and i appreciate all you've sacrificed for us, the family, and me, your son. Happy Father's Day.