Father Knows Nothing

June 17th

2013-06-17T00:00:00Z June 17thRick Kaempfer nwitimes.com
June 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

June 17th is a big day in my life, and it’s been that way since I was born. It’s kind of spooky actually how much it has followed me around.

To begin with, it was my father’s birthday. It was also his sister’s birthday (my godmother). She was born exactly three years after my dad. We celebrated that day every year of my childhood, and it often fell on Father’s Day, which I felt was a bit of a ripoff to my dad. Most dads get two celebrations, but he only got one.

My first girlfriend in college was also born on June 17th. So was my second girlfriend. And they were both born in the same hospital in New Jersey. How strange is that? My college roommate was also born on June 17th, making it even weirder.

When I started working in radio, I was Steve & Garry’s producer at AM 1000 in Chicago. I mentioned to them that it was my father’s birthday on June 17th, 1989, and they did a big bit about my dad. They thought his name was funny (Eckhard) and they knew he was a German immigrant, so they did a bit goose-stepping around the studio, saying his name as harshly as they could. I was worried that he would be offended by it (he hated Nazi jokes), but he heard from so many friends and relatives who thought it was funny, he got a huge kick out of it. Dad told me all about it on the phone that night.

It was my second-to-last conversation with him. He died just a few days later.

My girlfriend at the time (different than the girlfriends from college) was also born on June 17th. I married her a few years later, and I remain married to her to this day. Every year on June 17th, we continue to celebrate.

This year it didn’t fall on Father’s Day, but it often does, and I feel like Bridget gets ripped off a bit when that occurs. I try to tell her that her birthday is more important than Father’s Day, but she won’t stand for it. I think she knows intellectually that I mean it, but she doesn’t really understand the depth of emotion I feel about this special day.

It’s June 17th. My favorite day of the year.

We’re going out to dinner tonight, and my godmother is coming with us.

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Rick Kaempfer's business card says author/writer/blogger, but his real job is "stay-at-home-dad."