This one nearly had me stumped. I don’t read a lot of stories or books that have fatherhood as a focus…or even characters who are fathers. If they are, they’re usually spies or soldiers or cops first, and actual fathering falls far behind whatever is driving the plot. So, this was a tough one. Then, as it usually is when you hit certain pockets of memory, I started getting flooded with examples. I finally narrowed it down to three, and I’ve spent the last few hours trying to decide on my choice for the day. The father I finally picked certainly wouldn’t be too popular today. In fact, he’d be considered something of a martinet, a control freak. But, with a house full of kids, that’s a bit understandable. He did, however, encourage individuality in all of his children, teach them how to be curious and self sufficient, and, if the book is any indication of the real man, managed to maintain a sense of humor throughout. I don’t remember when or how I found this book, but it might have been lying around the top floor of my grandmother’s house during a summer visit, and I might have just squirreled it away in my suitcase. I know I read it multiple times before I got out of high school. First published in 1948, I imagine it’s still relevant today. Two movies have been made from this book, one in 1950, the other in 2003. Although I love both actors who played the father, I have to say that the 1950’s version with Clifton Webb probably comes closer to the actual spirit of the book. Of course it’s sexist and classist and all kinds of other “ist-s” by our standards over half a century later, but a good father can transcend all that. I do recommend the book and now I’ll have to go find it again for a re-read!