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"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope." — Bill Cosby

Insert tie for soap-on-a-rope in the Kelly household. Another boring Father’s Day rolled by. Hubby Patrick got the tie; the man doesn’t even like ties. Cuban guayaberas are much more his look for a formal occasion. Eve was disappointed in her lack of creativity, so the call for ideas went out to the ladies. Father’s Day 2009 is going to be a winner.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“That adage really holds true,” laughed Bernice. “I think it’s so hard to buy something for fathers; they don’t need for anything. For my man Frank, Father’s Day means blueberry nectarine pie from my Baking with Julia cookbook. Blueberries are a favorite fruit of his, and they come in season around Father’s Day. Pies are a bit of work, so I don’t make them very often.”

For sis Nancy, Father’s Day includes champagne and filet mignon. “We had brunch on our veranda surrounded by our flowering lily bushes,” she explained. “There was champagne, seafood salad, filet mignon with potatoes au gratin, and we finished the meal with strawberry shortcake. If the man’s stomach is happy, everyone’s happy.”

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Berthold Auerbach

“The best gift I ever gave Scott was an electric guitar,” said Lissa. “I knew he was dreaming of learning the guitar, and one day I caught him looking at a guitar catalog. Pointing out my favorite on the page, he said, ‘Yeah, but if I ever buy a guitar, it will be this one.’ He taught himself the guitar and now he is really good.”

Rose bought tickets for her father John. “One year, John received season tickets to the opera,” she smiled. “He loves lots of different styles of music and art forms, but opera for him combines two of his favorites: drama and music. So every month he attended a different show. It was a gift that kept on giving.”

“True creativity often starts where language ends.” — Arthur Koestler

“I’m not a very creative person,” said Teresa, “so my ideas aren’t that unusual. Probably the most interesting gift I ever gave James was an “Under the Sea” card I designed. I cut out the heads of my children from photos and a head of my husband. And with each photo head, I drew a sea creature body. So one kid was an octopus, one was a crab, one was a squid. And James had the body of Neptune. I thought it was just a silly little card, but James treasured it.”

“This year the kids created a scrapbook for Dad,” Beth said. “Each kid wrote a short letter to Dad explaining why he was their hero, and then they decorated their page with that letter, stickers, photos, and ribbons. The pages really illuminated the kids’ different personalities, and their dad just loved the keepsake.”

“One year when the kids were very young,” offered Sarah, “I bought the book Guess How Much I Love You. I inscribed the inside cover: ‘I can find no better way to express how much I love you than this.’ The kids helped me wrap it up in a shirt box filled with chocolate kisses, and when he opened it, he read it with the kids.”

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce

“My husband Wally is going with his brothers to have a men’s weekend,” explained Jane. “They’re heading up the coast where they will be hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, drinking beer, all that stuff. We ladies get together frequently through the year, or all the couples get together, but this is a chance for the men to hang with the men.”

Monica always gives her husband Peter a morning of golf. “Last year he golfed Torrey Pines, which made this year’s U.S. Open that much more interesting for him to watch. This year we also bought him a subscription to Sports Illustrated.”

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.” — Martha Graham

“We had a family dance party,” laughed Jill. “Pat loves to dance, so we pushed all the furniture to the edge of the room, and we danced and danced to all sorts of different music. It was a great family activity to do because everyone can dance. Even our six-month-old was bouncing up and down in his Exersaucer.”

“Safeguard the health both of body and soul.” — Cleobulus

“My man likes spa treatments,” laughed Clare. “Last year the kids and I gave him a gift certificate to a local spa for a sports massage followed by a mud scrub. This year, we decided to take the massaging in our own hands, and we bought a hot stone massage kit. After breakfast in bed, the kids laid out a blanket on the family-room floor and gave him a hot stone massage. They followed it up with a four-person hand-and-foot massage. Each kid took a hand or a foot. Jack felt quite loved.”

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