We’re huge fans of the blog, 10 Engines, created by James Fox. We recently caught up with James, who lives in Somerville, MA with his wife and two boys, ages 6 and 3, and asked for his take on Father’s Day.
Is there an effort to celebrate Father’s Day in some special way? Probably some mixture of candlepin bowling, an old fashioned ice cream cake and Redbones (bbq joint in Somerville, MA). Same recipe for my birthdays btw, clutch. (We asked James what ‘clutch’ means, and he explained that it means essential.)
Is there a paternal tradition or family ritual you carry out with your family? The only paternal tradition for us might be demonstrating how to make a decent martini…
Do you have a favorite Father’s Day gift? I love the “shirt and tie or socks” thing. Seriously. Have to give props to my wife here, she often pulls something random and spot-on out of the bag. No pressure!
Do you cook with your kids and what are you favorite meals or dishes to make together? Pancakes on Saturday are a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). We’ll give it a break in the summertime but generally the boys will help crack eggs (hell, they’ll help collect the eggs if we are at my Pop’s place in Vermont), measure and pour ingredients, and stir the batter. We have a griddle now (that may have been a Father’s Day gift actually… good one Lady) so I don’t flip the pancakes up to the ceiling anymore. Might have to bring that back.
What is your weekend dad style? Spring weekends are firmly Carhartt’s and Topsiders. Love when the soles go green after cutting the lawn. Even in summer I find some kind of button up shirt is cooler than a tshirt; weighs less and air can flow around. I have a stack of old, paper-thin Sears Western shirts that are weekend staples. White hair in the beard completes the look…
What is your favorite book to read your kids? Oor Wullie is a favorite (sort of Scottish version of Dennis the Menace). The comic began in the late 1930s and has evolved only slightly e.g. he mentions the internet now. Generally William’s adventures include building go-carts in his shed, dealing with school, his friends, his “Ma and Pa”, eating fish and chips while sitting on his ever-present upturned coal bucket… Language is written in vernacular Scots so the boys get to learn some new words. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is a close second though.
What would you say is your dad talent? Knowing how to juggle definitely comes in handy, literally and figuratively. Making a “volcano” using baking soda and vinegar, that’s definitely a hit.
What would be a dad tip you would give to other dads? Don’t hover. Don’t snap. Everything is a phase. Also, this is a big one, they are watching and listening to everything; how you and your partner interact, how you act in public, etc. Double standards are not going to work.
Do you want your kids to follow in the family business or your chosen profession? If they can figure out who they are and what they want to be I’ll be very happy for them.
What was your first car and have you thought about what your kids first car would or should be? I grew up driving in Vermont, so of course it was a Subaru–ha ha. Not wild about many of their recent changes though. Would be mind-blowing to see them driving our current Sub’ as young men.
What is your proudest moment (so far) being a dad? I have been proud of the boys’ achievements sure, but try not let that swell me up too much. Honestly, walking through the front door and having them yell DAD! feels pretty damn good.
Do you have an heirloom that you are looking forward to handing down? It has been very cool to see them wear some of my old kids clothes that I hoarded saved (Baracuta jacket, Topsiders, Izods). Besides my old baseball glove (can’t wait) and grandpa’s cufflinks I don’t think we have too many heirlooms… Though I do have a couple of “time capsules” of letters I have written to them, for them to open when they get a little older.