We asked fathers, children, and wives to share their advice on successful Father's Day gifts. Thanks to everyone for the many thoughtful responses. Here's a sampling of them:
One unforgettable summer, my wife, daughters, and I joined friends on a whale-watching kayak trip. Years later, when I discovered a "no motors allowed" lake at a nearby state park, I fondly remembered kayaking. That Father's Day, my wife presented me with a two-person kayak. We paddle at dusk, when still waters reflect every tree, the air is cooling, and bird calls are quieting. Sometimes, just at sunset, a full moon rises. I am enveloped by an utter peace. The gift of tranquility is priceless.
Bill Fabian, O'Fallon, Mo.
The very best gift I received was a thoughtful handwritten note from my son. He just reminded me of a number of lessons that I had somehow imparted and some of the good times we had together when he was growing up.
Eugene, via e-mail
Last year, my stepdaughters asked me for help with Father's Day gift ideas. "He insists - no presents," I said. "But he would probably treasure something that shows you appreciate things that he has done for you." They created a scrapbook with written memories and old photos of events and lessons important to them. Their father loved it and proudly showed it around. He even carried it to Germany to show family and friends.
Faith Kuehn, Boothwyn, Pa.
Most memorable of any Father's Day gift was that given me by my two sons in 2004. Together they took me to Washington for a weekend of sight-seeing, the primary objective being to visit the World War II memorial to (as they announced) thank me for having served in that war.
Robert G. Rafferty, Littleton, Mass.
It turns out that, so far, the Father's Day gift my dad has enjoyed the most was from my niece. She sent him two delicious lobsters. Why couldn't I have thought of that?
Liza Beshoff, via e-mail
Growing up in Washington, D.C., I was privileged to read "This Morning," a daily column by sportswriter Shirley Povich of The Washington Post. My dad and I would then discuss it and agonize over the faults, failings, and occasional glorious moments of our Redskins and Senators. Now, there is a compilation of those columns. If our children gave this book to me, they would be giving me a treasure: my Dad.
Donald M. Mayhew, Carlisle, Pa.
"What would you like for a present?" I would ask my father.
"For you to be a good girl," he'd say.
"Aw, c'mon, Daddy," I'd say.
He'd offer me a slow, sideways smile. "A man's family," he'd say, "is the greatest monument he leaves on earth."
One Father's Day, I cut out a poem I had published, based on one of his stories about family. I glued it onto construction paper, with thanks. He had it framed.
Gail Gilliland, Boston
Peace and quiet; a good present.
Thomas Schexnayder, New Orleans
My dad was a runner for 40 years and saved each pair of running shoes he ever wore. I mounted them on a highwaylike surface with the miles moved each year, celebrating his success.
Sally Baldwin, Green Valley, Calif.
Galactic travel, it isn't;
can't hold a candle to Zephyr trains.
It's way lower than Pike's Peak;
takes a back seat to roller coasters.
But what a draw to kids and grandkids!
The apple tree limb is ready;
the new post set in cement 14 feet away.
In between, the soon-to-be gentle swing 'n' sway (perhaps to a tune by Sammy Kaye) -
my Father's Day hammock is on the way!
Daryl E. Northrop, Indianapolis