During World War II, in the 1940's to be exact I had the opportunity to see the movie Men of Boy's Town. After seeing that movie I was visibly moved, and felt that Father Flanagan was indeed a living Saint. When, I saw the story again on IrishCentral.com, that there was a question being raised at his canonization, that Fr. Flanagan had not worked a miracle, I pointed out that he had already worked the greatest miracle of all, by his creation of BOY's TOWN USA in Omaha, Nebraska. And that he did not need to perform any other miracles to prove that he was worthy of being canonized and added to list of saints therein.
Now and again I get letters from Covenant House in Toronto, Ontario, with appeals for donations and sometimes give them what I, a retired person can spare. Which takes me to the point I am about to raise. Father's Day is just a week away and having lost my son Lou a Toronto Police Service Constable in January 2008, I know what being a REAL father all is about. It is a job that takes one a lifetime to learn, and one that you can never ever forget. Once you have been a father, you can never stop being one no matter what the circumstances are.
When I worked with someone much younger than me, I usually took the role of a father, and this was noted by my boss.
One day a few years ago I went into a Cafe for cup of Coffee, and while there, I noticed two youngsters, both about 16-18-years old, one was a girl the other was a boy. I was told that they been sitting in the Cafe for three hours waiting for lift home from the man who had left them there to canvas the area for customers. He left these two youngsters marooned with not a penny in their pockets, not even enough to buy even a cup of coffee.
I hung around for a while and asked them where they had come from. They said that they were from Oshawa, Ontario. When I found out that they had no way of getting home, my fatherly instincts kicked in. Then I told them that I would make sure that they got home back to Oshawa. The owner of the Cafe asked me why I was worrying about two children Who were not mine? I replied to his question by telling him that I was a father and that I could not abandon these two unfortunate children and being a father, I would be remiss, if I did so. The proprietor then looked at me with a puzzled expression.
I took the two children to my car and told them to get in. I went to an ATM Machine and got some money for their journey home to Oshawa. I stopped off at a fast food place and bought them a hamburger each and some fries, because they had not eaten since the breakfast that morning. Then I went to a GO Station and bought them a ticket each for Oshawa, and then gave them some money in case they needed something to eat.
I was driving along a road in Milton, Ontario when I saw a boy on a bicycle trying to avoid a car that was speeding down a ramp. He hit an abutment and bent the fork of his bicycle. I stopped my car and got out, and asked if I could help? He replied that he now did not have any choice but to walk all the way to Scarborough, Ontario. I beckoned him to bring his bicycle over. I turned the bike over, checked it out and decided what I was going to do. I always carry some tools in the trunk of my car, so I got to work and removed the front wheel to straighten out the bent fork on his bike. Within the next fifteen minutes I got the fork straightened out and got his bike back together again. I told him that he could now be on his way back to Scarborough, without the long walk. He thanked me, and I waved him on.
Being a father is a full time job, and not a part time job, which very few men take seriously.
On June 21st the world celebrates Father's Day, and yet, I have no memories to remember it as being any different to all the other days of the year. I have two children who will not be there, by choice, because they have been emotionally poisoned, but that is the story of life itself. I have no regrets for having lived as an honest hardworking father, who cared for his family more than himself.
I end this story with a Father's Day wishes to all men who have taken the role of being a father very, very seriously.
Kenneth T. Tellis