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June 15, 2013

To Dad, With Love: Give gifts of experiences, presents from the heart


Laying his face to Holstein’s flank, he strips milk from swollen teats, sings comfort to his cows, the child in the corner.

The barn is warm and deep and full with smells.

He carries pails of sloshing milk, calls the child to him, calls, hurry, it’s late, and I hang on the back of his seat in the old black car all the way, all the way as he tells me birds and I spell hawk, speak sky.

For children in the Oneonta Jump Start program, Father’s Day will be a busy one. Heidi Tanner-Brantley, director and teacher of the fitness-based child care program, explained that the children in the program will host a celebration field day for dads, with fun activities to keep everyone moving. 

Dads who participate in this year’s activities will receive handmade trophies created by the students — which would make a nice way to cap off a day of Father’s Day activities for any dad. A previous Father’s Day celebration at the Jump Start program paired photos of children holding a sign that read “My Dad Rocks!” with a hand-painted rock paperweight gift, Tanner-Brantley explained.

Starting a Father’s Day tradition can provide a way to give a gift that’s part object, part experience. Amy Williams, director of the Cullman Child Development Center in Sidney, said that this year at the center some of the children will be working with plaster of Paris to make stepping stones for their fathers with their hand print featured. Williams suggested that this is an idea that makes a great annual tradition as the child grows up and the hand size changes. Another group has decorated planter pots, filled with soil and started seeds as a gift for dad.

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