I once gave my dad a Brut 33 gift box – the green stuff 33% as potent as the original Fabergé product. Complete with soap-on-a-rope, after-shave, cologne, splash-on-lotion, antiperspirant and deodorant, I thought the “Essence of Men” grooming products set neatly under thin cellophane was an appropriate gift when I was 12 years old.

And he did not disappoint. Even though Original Scent Speed Stick is his cologne of choice, he still used most of that stinky Brut crap and for this, I thank him.

He has always been useful, changing my diapers and working on rooftop AC units and in compressor rooms during the hottest Florida months. As I grew, his hands never seemed to come clean, but he taught me the importance of family and to respect elders, electricity and Entenmann’s donuts.

Then there was the fun stuff like driving a rear-wheel drive, 3 speed van in the snow, how to kill (responsibly…just squirrels, deer-n-such) and how to make bacon bread.*

33 years later he changes the next generation of poopy diapers and the old man can still cook, clean, and coo like some kind of Mary Poppins (albeit bald and bearded).

And I gave him deodorant.

This year will be different. His first Father’s Day as a grandpa will be spent at the beach with his new grandson and I will not be giving him any kind of lotions, gels, creams, or soap. His crisp tshirts and carefully ironed Tommy Bahama linens still have that clean Speed Stick scent and I don’t want to mess with a good thing.

I use the same stuff. Maybe my son will too.

Happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there.

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Grandpa Koler. Pictured with me and Josh. Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Grandpa Koler. Pictured with me and Josh

* A Koler family recipe brought over from the fatherland, Romania. Before our family snuck into this country, the sheep herders would head into the hills with a loaf of bread and a hunk of smoked bacon called selena. The bacon is slowly roasted over an open fire and the grease is dripped onto a thick piece of crusty bread sprinkled with paprika and thinly strips of green pepper and onion. Top it off with a slice of tomato, salt and pepper.

While cooking, my dad/uncles would say, “My grandparents ate this everyday and they lived to be 50!”

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