Shirlee Smith | A Mean Dad's Day Celebration

Published : Monday, June 19, 2017 | 5:44 AM

It was the great cookout. Neighbor’s gathered to celebrate their block’s new dad and the old-timers in attendance thought they knew it all.

All for the New Dad?

The barbecue that was cooked on the fancy new grill Mr. Montgomery, the host, received from his bunch of kids was lip-smacking delicious.

Mr. New Dad was still in a daze (from missing much sleep the night before) when he arrived with his girlfriend, the baby’s momma, holding their infant in her arms.

“Whoa,” said the elder dad at the gathering. “It’s Father’s Day and you, Mr. New Dad, belong holding that baby.”

“Hold on,” said Montgomery, with a bowl of barbecue sauce in hand and wearing a grimy white apron. “Don’t start this day with a lecture.”

Montgomery went on to add there was no formula for who holds the baby and that there’s no day designated for dads or moms to take their turn.

And so went the conversations at the gathering. The old-timers had words of advice and the older-timers determined that their age gave them enough swag to pronounce what was right and what was wrong, and Mr. New Dad had best take heed.

Both the recipe for the lip-smacking barbecue sauce and the top sports stories of the day gave way to schooling the unsuspecting Mr. New Dad.

The Women Guests Chose to Punish the Dad’s Mate

Ms. Girlfriend also suffered during the alleged celebration. Afterward she said that her first thought was that the food made her stomach upset, but then she soon realized it was the grueling conversation the women neighbors had engaged in.

“Back in the day” seemed to have been the theme at the tables where women were gathered.

Women, decent women, it was said, didn’t show off a baby who was born out of wedlock. Someone remembered the high school senior who mysteriously disappeared from the neighborhood and was said by her family members to have gone East to stay with her aunt.

People knew what the real story was, but it was a hush-hush conversation. What happened to the baby? Nobody really cared since the girl’s family name was still allowed to be honorable.

Men, decent men, it was said, married a girl they impregnated. Hoops and hollers were enjoyed by the women as they remarked how most marriages produced premature babies allegedly born in seven months rather than the full-term nine months.

Ms. Montgomery offered up the explanation that when the first menstrual period was missed the alarm went out, and by the second month of no period, wedding bells were ringing.

Ms. Girlfriend said she was so outnumbered that she didn’t bother to ask any of the wretched guests how many of them fit this scenario.

There were many kids, grandkids and great-grandkids at the neighborhood Father’s Day celebration, and fortunately they seemed untouched by the flow of conversation being offered up by the “old geezers.”

Ms. Girlfriend admitted she would have liked to have joined the younger set’s activities.

What Ever Happened to Mr. Montgomery’s Caution Against Lectures?

Mr. New Dad was subjected to various views on what the perfect father would do in a series of everyday situations.

“When your kid gets bullied, you teach him to fight back with his fist or any other object that’ll knock the other kid on his heels.”

“Your boy is really the little you. So make sure he’s everything you wanted to be and didn’t become — make him love sports, if that’s you.”

“Don’t let him be a momma’s boy. You be the boss and that’s why you and not she should be carrying that baby today.”

The dads attending the celebration didn’t embark on the “back-in-the-day” journey. But to sum it up, Mr. New Dad felt as much an outsider as did his girlfriend.

Why humiliate the new parents? Claiming the event was a Father’s Day celebration in honor of the new dad on the block was a wicked plot engineered by a bunch of out-of-sync-with-the times neighbors.

A dad who isn’t married to his child’s mother isn’t any less of a dad. Honoring fathers isn’t predicated upon their marital status.

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