I had the rare opportunity to attend a father-daughter banquet this evening. I say “rare” because I am not a father; I have no daughters.  It was held at Grace Community Church, and about seventy fathers and daughters showed up in little-used suits, repurposed Easter dresses and corsages.

       There was no outward elegance surrounding the event. It was held in an old activity center complete with dilapidated roll-away basketball goals, stained carpet and protective cages around the stage lights for rogue dodge balls. But the lights were low; there were roses and candles on the tables; the meal was excellent, and most importantly, there were grinning Dads and well-loved daughters in the seats.

       I was only part of the entertainment, so I had the privilege of watching the event with an outsider’s perspective. And to see these men—some of whom I know to be landscapers, pilots, academics, farmers and railroaders—taking pictures, pulling out chairs and making polite conversation with their daughters was heartwarming. These weren’t bumbling, football-crazed, crude, insensitive Neanderthals pedaled as “manly men” by some. These have reached into a depth of manhood unknown to beer commercials. They probably still like sports, tinkering, beer-brats, Jack London and drywall, but they also take their daughters on dates and make them feel loved and special. I call that well-rounded manhood. I was proud to share the same room with them. Not much more to say but, “Good work, men.”

R. Eric Tippin
In “The Study” on 8th Street