Stumped again by Father’s Day? With just a few days till the main event, BizPhilly is here to help with some last-minute ideas that’ll make dad happy. While he’ll be proud to know that you’re in touch with his tastes, he’ll be especially pleased that you supported a small business in Philadelphia. Every product, service or experience on this list has some connection to a Philadelphia business, proving it’s possible to get everything you need made right here in Philly.
Most of the year, there was Regular Dad.
Regular Dad was kind of like Don Draper (minus the three-martini lunches and workday naps). He was a hardworking, good-looking, big-city, big-job media guy, with monogrammed cuffs on custom dress shirts. He lunched at the Rainbow Room. His job was high-stress, and we didn’t see a lot of him: He left our bucolic New Jersey home each morning before the sun had fully cracked the horizon and came home late each evening — all to beat the rush-hour traffic. His long commute, which was filled with off-ramps and toll roads, bridges and tunnels, was something he did every day for nearly 30 years without complaint. Regular Dad was pretty great as far as I was concerned: Decades later, I still remember jumping off the couch each night when I saw the headlights of his car pan across our family-room window as he turned into the driveway. I would race the dog to see who could get to the garage door first.
You brace yourself for a phone call; you don’t brace yourself for an email. But one day last year, this message from my father, with no subject line, was waiting in my inbox: “I got an e-mail last night informing me that Paul Burnley had died,” it began. “No details about when or how.” An email about an email about the death of my grandfather: Abstract and abrupt, it might as well have been a telegraph, all 135 words of it. I’d gone through the deaths of all my other grandparents, each one marked by a memory of my dad gently unspooling the facts, either in front of me or over the phone. His crackly voice on the other end of the line, trying to comfort me with a She died peacefully to soften the blow. But now, after the death of his father, he seemed unreachable.
One summer night a long time ago, when I was 11, my father drove me down into Philly to see a baseball game. Dad had zero interest in baseball. I loved it. So it was up to me, riding shotgun down Roosevelt Boulevard from Morrisville, to conjure: the grass more perfect than any grass anywhere. The Reds! Skinny Frank Robinson, part of the first wave of great black players allowed into the majors, who stood almost on top of home plate, as if daring the pitcher to hit him.
A memory: my junior year at Penn. I go home for Christmas. I bring the first story I wrote for the professor who, upon reading it, told me I would and should be a writer. (We can curse her later.) My mother is in the kitchen. My dad is in his favorite spot, The Recliner. Oh, this was such a nifty recliner! They got it at the fanciest furniture store in Scranton. It was from The Recliner that my dad did his favorite things: watch Johnny Carson; hold forth with all the relatives, friends, and friends of his kids who always seemed to be in the house; and fall asleep, snoring loudly, even if (especially if) the house was full of company. But on this night, it’s just the three of us. I hand a copy of my first “story” to each parent. My mother, Josephine, is mortified, horrified. I have made fun of our parish priest. She expresses her displeasure without uttering a word, by banging pots and pans. I look at my father, in The Recliner. He’s flipping through the pages and laughing. As robustly as he can without Josie hearing him. Then he looks at me. And grins. And puts a finger to his mouth, as if to say, “This is between us.” Then he utters the words that every daughter needs to hear from her father: “This is great.”
Sure, you’re probably prepared to indulge in the dinner of your dad’s choice this Sunday night, but for those of you who want to get the celebrations started a little earlier, why not begin the day with one of these five father-focused fitness events (try saying that five times fast)? From a 5K to a free boot camp with post-workout booze, there’s bound to be something you can rope your pops into. Read more »
Get a box of tissues ready: There’s a touching new video that features fathers talking to their children about when they came out of the closet, and it is a very moving tribute to all those great dads out there on Father’s Day.
The film is an Upworthy exclusive, and it really is gorgeous. With so many horrible stories about LGBTQ youth homelessness and families who evict their children after they come out, it is refreshing to hear these reaffirming dads talk candidly with their kids. Make sure you send your own dad some love this Sunday, perhaps by sharing this video with him. There’s also an entire series of GIFs from the film that you can find here.
When you were a kid Father’s Day just meant another family night out you didn’t have to pay for or organize. Now that you’re grown the rolls are reversed. Give the old man’s wallet a break by treating him to something on our list of local adventures that’ll have you and him feeling like the old team again.
Father’s Day is coming up quick, friends. If you’re like me and always forget to buy gifts until the last minute (and sometimes after the fact — sorry dad!), never fear: We’ve compiled this list of 10 great gifts to help any health-savvy dad stay fit — several with Father’s Day discounts to boot! Read more »