The memory of Father’s Day still lingers like the scent of the barbecues many fathers cooked to celebrate their day. Fathers come in all colors of the rainbow and can range from strictly paternal fathers to down-to-earth dads who love nothing better than an opportunity to play with their children.

As we age, the potency of Father’s Day changes from looking up to your father and making homemade gifts to please him to being a parent and being on the other side of the holiday. We also look back to our past on this day and try to honor the memory of our fathers.

Yes, fathers are like a field of multicolored flowers: no two are exactly alike. Sometimes, they seem like a lottery where one is luckier than the others in the draw. Most children think theirs is the best.

Our views on fathers can vary, depending on whether you are a son or daughter or a dad to a boy or a girl. I often think it’s interesting to look at a father’s father for parenting clues.

I loved how old television portrayed fathers, even if it showed them through rose-tinted glasses. Who didn’t love Robert Young in “Father Knows Best”?

One year, when I was very young, I asked Santa in a letter if I could trade my father for Young instead. Maybe Santa didn’t get my letter.

When I was about ten, I gave my father a good look over. I realized he was a tough man who’d followed in his father’s footsteps. My first husband was my children’s father. His father was a cold man—an example his son followed.

He became a father at a very young age, and I became much more understanding when I matured and knew he had done his best. When he was dying (a rough, horrible time), I was so proud of how my three children were there for him until the end.

When I remarried in my 30s, my children had already grown up watching “The Brady Bunch,” which set an extremely high bar for my new husband, Ron. It took my three children quite a while to accept Ron, who was definitely not the Mr. Brady they used as an example.

Even though they called their real father “Dad,” my children called Ron “Pops” after they fell in love with him. He was more of a hands-on father. The name differentiation made me laugh.

I called my father’s father—who was broody and depressed like my father—the more formal “Grandfather.” My mother’s father was a jovial, loving man I called “Grandpa.” Sometimes, there really is a lot to a name.

Old movies displayed many types of fathers, and for many children who never knew their male parent, movies gave them the model they tried to be when they later became fathers.

Of course, being a father in a film is much easier because you can leave your actor children behind and go home to some peace. I remember envying Elizabeth Taylor in “Father of the Bride” and “Daddy’s Little Dividend”—those were hard shoes for any man to fill.

I asked a few of my friends about their fathers. Rosemary comes from a very formal Armenian family, and her father ruled their home with a pretty firm hand. She laughed as she explained, “I always called my father ‘Dad,’ unless I really wanted something. Then, I would sweetly call him ‘Daddy.’

“I never fooled him, though,” she told me. “He would always say, ‘Ok, what do you want?’ When I left the house and grew up, I called him ‘Pa.’ I was following my father’s tradition there, as he called his father ‘Pa’ when he grew up.”

Rosemary continued, “My father has been gone many years now. After my mother died, I had him move in with me. I am so glad that I had that opportunity to get to know him as just a person. You know, you never stop missing your parents.”

Much to her delight, Linda admitted she was a daddy’s girl and quickly added that she was her father’s favorite. Linda’s sister always called their father “Dad.” She was much closer to her mother.

Sometimes, Linda felt that her mother was slightly jealous of her close relationship with her daddy. Linda was married four times, and none stuck because, as Linda explained, “No one could hold a candle to my daddy.”

His death was the worst thing that ever happened to her, and I can understand why because I knew her father very well. Linda genuinely won the “father lottery”: he treated me with love, and being in his presence always warmed my soul.

He was a man for all seasons: intelligent, funny, loving and patient. Like a teddy bear, he was also soft and gentle, but when it came to defending those he loved, he was a grizzly bear.

Anna never knew her father—he died in WWII. She told me she learned to know and love him through pictures and her mother’s retelling of stories.

Anna told me, “I am sorry I never got to really know my father, but you know, to me, he will always be perfect. He remains on the throne my mother put him on by the version she allowed me to know. I like to think I will get to meet him one day in heaven, and I will rush up to him and put my arms around him and tell him, ‘I love you, Daddy.’

“I always told my children how lucky they were to have a daddy, and I think that they did appreciate him. On one Father’s Day, my youngest told me, ‘I will share my daddy with you, Mommy.’”

Now that I am more than seven decades old, I am older than my parents were allowed to be. In truth, I am older than any relative on both sides. So, I guess I’m the keeper of my family’s history.

From this vantage point, I find myself more understanding than I was in my youth. Time gives us better perception and certainly more empathy.

Our ancestors, especially our parents, are the building blocks of our family, just as I am now a bridge. I look back with renewed love and patience to those who came before me and hope that my future generations are loving and patient in this continuance of family.

I hope all of you fathers had a wonderful day. And a special happy first Father’s Day wishes to Ricky Abejuela, the father of my great-grandson, Grayson. And yet another generation begins.

Diana J. Ingram

Diana Ingram has been a columnist for Los Banos newspapers for four decades.