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Calgary Herald - June 19, 2000

Father's day - Kids, dads celebrate fatherhood

By Joe Woodard

Despite the threatening weather on Father’s Day, Calgary’s streets and parks were filed with fathers and kids.

Mark St. Mand and his wife, Susan, took their three children_Cathy, 7, Connor, 5, and Cameron, 2, _ to the Science Center.

Then came their first-ever ride on the LRT, and next a stroll down the Stephen Avenue Mall, “so Daddy could see the (antique) cars” on display.

The kids were still overwhelmed by the train ride, and daddy was still enjoying their awe.

“Life’s been a lot of fun since they started arriving,” said St. Mand.

Gord Miller was one of the Calgarians displaying a “muscle car” on the mall.

And sitting in the passenger seat of his 1974 Plymouth Roadrunner was his son, David, 10, eager to take charge of the car some day.

“Depends how responsible he becomes,” David’s father said.

“We put a lot of work into rebuilding the body and the interior, and some day, we’ll have to rebuild the motor.”

The Variety Club of Southern Alberta held its Father’s Day Picnic at South Glenmore Park.

Photo (Mickey Dumont, Calgary Herald)

Oded Glickson plays on a slide with his 11-month-old daughter Elite on Sunday during a Father's Day Picnic at South Glenmore Park.

The Prince’s Island crowd also ignored clouds and occasional drizzles. Tim Janz and his kids Emily, 12, and Nicholas, 10, spent the afternoon riding their mountain bikes up and down the island’s little hills.

But the kids had to take it easy on daddy.

“I had the kids skiing, this spring, and broke a couple of ribs, showing off,” Janz said.

“So then, last month, we get these mountain bikes, and Nicholas start saying, ‘Do a donkey kick, do a donkey kick.’ I do one, and then he says,’ higher, do one higher.'

“So finally, I fly right over the handlebars and re-injure the ribs I’d injured skiing.”

Janz said he wanted to have kids, so he could do all the “kids’ things “ again, especially climbing on monkey bars.

“But I have to be a little more careful now,” he said.

“My body’s not quite so resilient as it was 15 years ago.

Prince’s Island was also the venue for the Men’s Education and Support Associations Sixth Annual Father’s Day Picnic.

MESA is an organization for non-custodial fathers, trying to fulfill their paternal role under difficult circumstances.

Tom Mathias attended the MESA picnic with daughter Elysia, 11, and Nicholas, 8, and they spent the afternoon, kicking around a soccer ball.

I didn’t have access to my children for a year and-a half,” Mathias said.

As a result, I had two heart attacks. The government and the courts don’t think much of fathers, these days.”

At 2 p.m., Sunday, the two dozen fathers at the picnic, with their kids, released 80 purple balloons into the air - a balloon, for every hundred divorces in Alberta this year.

They also released a single black balloon, to represent all the fathers who have no access to their kids, and the few who have committed suicide as a result.

“Our Father’s Day Picnic is just a chance for fathers to celebrate with their kids,” said MESA organizer Paul Millar.

“It’s a chance to forget about courts and lawyers and all the times we don’t get to be with them.”

Copyright 2000 Calgary Herald