“Father’s Day Detective,” Friend, June 2008, 12–13
Father’s Day was coming and I didn’t have a clue what to give my dad. What could he need that he didn’t already have? I decided I had to become a detective to find out.
When Dad came home from work, I was ready. I had a small notebook and pencil to write down clues. I listened carefully and watched closely everything that happened.
First, my dad walked in the door and said, “I’m home.” My mom said, “Welcome home, dear,” and gave him a kiss. Then Dad put his briefcase down by the bookcase. He took some coins and keys from his pockets, and put them on a shelf. Then he took off his coat and tie and hung them in his closet. He rolled up his sleeves and washed up for dinner.
After dinner, Dad cleared the table and washed the dishes. Then he read the newspaper and listened to music. After family prayer I went to bed, still clueless about what my dad needed.
The next morning I decided to try again. I got out my notebook and watched. It wasn’t long before I finally had the clue I’d been looking for.
First, Dad came into the kitchen tying his tie. He said, “Good morning, everyone,” and took a sip of orange juice. “I’ve got to hurry today,” he said. He was putting the coins back in his pocket when he stopped and looked around.
“Have you seen my keys?” he asked me.
I jumped up and found them on the floor near the bookcase.
“Thanks, sweetheart,” he said, kissing my cheek. “Lucky for me you have such sharp eyes.”
He waved good-bye, and I returned his wave with a big grin. I was happy because now I knew exactly what to make my dad for Father’s Day.
I asked my mom for a clean, empty tin can with the top removed. She made sure there were no sharp edges. I covered the outside of the can with gold paper. From some old magazines I cut out pictures of things that had to do with money and keys—a piggy bank, a treasure chest, a door lock, and a sports car. I glued the pictures onto the gold paper. My mom then sprayed the can with a clear sealant. While I waited for the can to dry so I could wrap it, I made a card for my dad with a drawing of a detective on it.
On Father’s Day, when Dad opened my gift, he looked confused. “This is a very pretty tin can,” he said.
“It’s for your extra coins,” I pointed out. “And so you don’t lose your keys anymore.”
Dad’s eyes lit up and he smiled broadly. Right then and there he got up and put the can on the bookshelf. “Perfect,” he said as he dropped his coins and keys in with a clatter. “How did you know this was exactly what I needed?”
I just smiled.
My dad used that tin can every day after that. Whenever I heard the familiar clatter of coins and keys, I felt happy inside. That sound meant my dad was home. And I felt a surge of love for him, knowing that I had been able to give him something he really needed. All I had to do was open my eyes and look for the clues.