Posted by: Mark Nielsen | June 16, 2008

Raining on My Parade… Literally

“Here’s looking at you, Dad.”

I know that –as Humphrey Bogart/Rick Blaine said in Casablanca— my problems “don’t amount to a hill of beans” in the context of wars, floods, earthquakes and supermodel Kate Moss’ hair extension malfunction. But the problems are real enough to me, and thus the truest reporting I can do (at least while sitting in a comfy cafe eating biscuits and gravy… I mean, I’m EMBEDDED here, people).

There was supposed to be an 8am tee-ball game at the “big field” today (Sunday) –with a P.A. announcer, teams lining up on the baselines while being introduced, and kosher hot dogs being sold (at 8am?). I looked forward to the whole baseball-fest pageantry — the older kids would follow, getting the same treatment. But it started pouring at about 7:55, and the games (or at least ours) were canceled.

Happy Frickin’ Father’s Day: up at 6:30 for NOTHING!

So I went to breakfast… alone, since Sue dislikes restaurants (and breakfast), and Graham already had a Pop Tart before the rainout. Dropped them off, then found out that Prairie Joe’s, my favorite breakfast joint, isn’t open till 9am on Sundays. Had to settle for Le Peep… this shee-shee (chi-chi?) place in Evanston with no character and middlin’ food. It was packed, especially with grinning dads out to breakfast with their families, and in some cases even the grandparents. Made me feel even more rained-upon.

By most accounts, when they were making the movie Casablanca, it was a mess not unlike my spoiled Father’s Day morning. They had multiple writers trying to clean up the story, Ingrid Bergman was a no-name actress still learning English, some actual WWII events changed the plot midstream, and it was not expected even by the filmmakers to be the classic that it became. Nevertheless, I didn’t hold out much hope that my Father’s Day would improve (and it really didn’t). Maybe I should have brought in a few more writers to clean up the plot: get Sue and Graham to join me for breakfast, have a great breakthrough at church, watch Casablanca together on DVD at night — that sort of thing. Oh well…

Sunday marked the third major event for me affected by excessive rainstorms this spring. The first two were at school: the Peace March for which we’d spent months preparing, and Field Day, where multi-age groupings compete for school bragging rights in relay races, Tug of War, and other events. That one got moved from a Friday to a Monday due to the storm. But the CMLC Peace March was just scaled back to a pathetic little parade around the gym– a complete waste of the attention-getting costumes, signs, and choreographed chants I taught the kids. I was quietly crushed, though I put on a brave face. (A metaphor for how most of the school year went, by the way…)

They say everything happens for a reason. My faith and perseverence notwithstanding, what could possibly be God’s reason for raining on every celebration I had a leadership role in this year? Yeah, I know: it’s not all about me, His rain falls on the just and the jerky alike, but my patience is getting pretty thin by now — enough to turn me kind of jerky.

In Casablanca, Rick and Ilsa would “always have Paris”. Meanwhile, what do I have to look back on fondly in the first six months of 2008, in this Father’s Day war of dampened spirits?


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